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Jeb Bladine: The great gift of a second chance

Second chances are great to get, but even more important to give.

Our newspaper received a second chance from a long-time reader who had let her subscription lapse due to negative reporting and commentary about the new presidential administration. She changed her mind, and this week she sent a heartfelt note I’m going to toss out like a pebble into the water. Small pebbles, you know, create tiny ripples that can grow into small waves in the tides of change.

This story began when we ignored the presidential inauguration. Then, we published prominent stories and photos about the local and national Women’s March that advocated for human rights and protested statements by President Donald Trump. We also published what our reader considered “negative sentiments regarding the new administration.”

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

No doubt, other people canceled their subscriptions for similar reasons. Our response, when given the opportunity, was that as a local newspaper we don’t cover presidential inaugurations, but we do report and comment on major public events in town and, in this case, a trek by local people to Washington, D.C.

Three months later, our reader of the day sent another note that deserves to become one of those pebbles in the water. Quoting her in part:

“I am going to admit now that I think I made a hasty decision. Your own reaction and humility that each subscriber is important to the business are part of what helped me see that I was being hasty … Although the state of our local and national politics seem a little crazy right now, I believe there are more reasons for that than what I originally thought was simply media bias … I apologize for my hasty judgment … I know that my voice is simply one in many, but I would like the message my voice conveys to be more hopeful than hasty, hence my change in heart & judgment.”

The lesson of that note far transcends our circulation count of News-Register readers. It speaks to the day-to-day human biases affecting decisions that can become unyielding barriers to compromise. It speaks to the value of a second look that can produce the great gift of a second chance.

Second chances are gifts that not only send ripples across wide waters, but also can leave the giver with a stronger sense of his or her own compassion in other areas of their lives.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregoster.com or 503-687-1223.

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