Monday morning quarterbacking Posen story

I strive for perfection — both personally and professionally.

It is a plateau I ever will achieve? The answer is most assuredly not.

Knowing that I never will attain perfection does not stop me from pursuing that goal, however. I need to grow and improve daily. Learning is an experience that should happen each and every day.

The same is true for The Alpena News. While we strive for perfection with every issue, we know there still are areas upon which we can improve. We never rest on our laurels and, each day, Managing Editor Justin Hinkley and I meet in the afternoon to dissect the morning edition and prepare for the next day’s publication.

This week, the newspaper has been criticized for focusing on a photo of the Trump Unity Bridge as our representation in the print edition of the Posen Potato Festival’s parade. I should explain that, at our digital site, there were other photographs to view. But that was not the case with the print edition.

Like a Monday morning quarterback, I believe all of us here at The News would, if we had to do it over again, choose another photograph to have used Monday morning. But, as in that football game that was played the day before, Monday morning newspaper quarterbacks don’t get a do-over.

In this instance, our page designer saw the discussion of politics in the story and, since there was a photograph on that subject available, chose to select that to accompany the story. She also saw that as the photo that represented something new and unique about this year’s parade.

Her logic was sound.

However, I believe it is fair to hear those readers who have said, “Hey, there were other things going on at the parade … next time show us some of those other activities.”

I agree. And we will.

Others have been critical of the selection because it was political. Basically, their contention has been something along the lines of “politics and parades don’t mix.”

I understand their concern, and, as I already have said, if given a second chance, we would have picked something else.

But readers need to also understand that politics and the Posen Potato Festival always have and probably always will mix together. The history of Posen and politics is actually rather impressive.

When I first arrived here in September 1988, I missed the festival by one week. I remember then-Managing Editor Lew Sowa sharing with me the history of the event, concluding with this statement: “The road to Lansing first runs through Posen.” I can remember past governors, U.S. congressmen, and state senators and representatives all making an appearance at the parade. Many remained after the parade to enjoy a kielbasa or golabki. Some even were known to have given it a whirl with a polka partner.

In recent years, the politicians might not have been as numerous, but I can remember political entries at the parade such as the Alpena County Tea Party and environmentalists protesting the proposed coal-fired energy plant at Rogers City.

As long as there is another election just around the corner, there will be politicians in a parade.

Posen always has been a favorite of mine, and always will be.

Bring on the potato pancakes.

And then ask former vice president Dan Quayle (who has walked a parade or two in his time) how to spell “potato.”

He can share the story of a potato, politics and a spelling lesson learned the hard way.

Parades and politics are a natural. A potato and politics … not so much.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.


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