'Doug Clark goes, or we do'

Question: This very evening I exclaimed to my husband, "It's time to let the Spokesman-Review know that either Doug Clark goes, or we do. We are totally incompatible." My husband, a wise and learned man, does not read Doug Clark, an option I more often than not also exercise. However, three of his recent columns piqued my attention.

Mr. Clark's "Gee, I need attention" nonsensical camp-out at the Lincoln Statue encourages me to invite him to spend an evening at "Cup of Cool Water" -- a downtown ministry whose dedicated volunteers bring hope and encouragement to Spokane's increasing number of homeless teens. If Mr. Clark could muster a shred of sensitive compassion; if he could keep his uneducated, unfunny comments on homelessness in check; and if he could raise himself to a level of charitable understanding, he may gain deeper understanding of an issue about which he so frivolously writes.

The misleading headline of Clark's Tuesday column (Feb. 3) -- "Half-time show outrages writer" captured hopeful attention from this reader. Sadly, that hope was quickly dashed upon reading the sub headline (he missed it). Assuredly this is the last Clark drivel I'll read. I don't read The National Inquirer, Playboy, or like publications, but suspect his crass, tasteless writing would be acceptable filler in the compost they market as "journalism."

Indeed then, my question about the ethical practices of The Spokesman-Review. Are you a family-friendly newspaper, or are you not? -- Colleen Welch

Answer: Are we a family newspaper or not? Good question. Newspapers are the last mass-market news medium left in the United States (as TV slides into more tightly focused niche programmingg and radio news all but disappears). Because we serve the mass market, we know that our readership will include people of all ages and all walks of life. Still, we try to edit the newspaper with thinking adults in mind. A newspaper edited entirely for "family-friendly" content would not serve the news needs of an information-hungry adult audience, at least not responsibly.

As a mass-market medium, I accept that people will read us selectively. Few people read every word. And I believe that if people don't like something we're offering, comic or columnist, news story or puzzle, their best option is to simply pass it by on their way to content they find interesting or acceptable. And I believe parents are perfectly capable of determining what parts of the newspaper (or TV programming or movies or music) are appropriate for their youngsters.

I realize this answer will not satisfy those who find Doug Clark (or any of our writers) to be distasteful. But to people who don't like Doug, my response is "just don't read him." -- Steve Smith, editor

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