Readers have expressed concern that my reporting on the personality profiles for Karl Skala and Gary Kespohl was biased. After hearing their feedback and reevaluating my work, I realize that, although this was not my intention, it certainly seems so.
If I could do it over, I would do things a little differently, but what’s been published can’t be taken back and, in the words of Mr. Skala, “what’s done is done. We’ll deal with it.”
I made the mistake of putting Mr. Schuster in both articles. In retrospect, I would not have included him in Mr. Kespohl’s profile.
As I know them, Mr. Skala and Mr. Kespohl could not be more opposite to one another and I hoped the tone of each article would reflect that.
As for the “puffy” tone of Mr. Kespohl’s article in comparison to Mr. Skala’s, I should have included more dynamic sources for Mr. Kespohl. If one article included both positive and negative comments, I should have done the same for the other.
If I could do things differently, I would.
Some things, however, I would do exactly the same.
I want to be as transparent as possible and explain that, even if I could do it again, I would leave Mr. Schuster’s comments in Mr. Skala’s personality profile.
I might have more tactfully presented his viewpoint, but I still see value in providing it.
As I got to know Mr. Skala through seeing him at council meetings, at forums and in his home or at the Pasta Factory for interviews, I got the strong impression that Mr. Skala is who he is no matter the audience or situation.
To me, Skala appeared as thoughtful, analytical, and seemingly unafraid of a little confrontation. Karl Skala is still Karl Skala whether Mr. Schuster, or anyone else, agrees with him or not.
I take full responsibility for both profiles and, though my confidence as a reporter is a little wounded, I still stand by my work. The feedback provided to me by readers has been a painful and valuable lesson to learn, and one that I will not forget.
It isn’t any consolation to say that I didn’t mean to sound biased because, to a degree, the reality is that I did — but it certainly wasn’t on purpose.
I can only offer my transparency as a reporter and my focus to do better for my future work as proof that I’ve learned an important lesson from these profiles.
-Anne Christnovich, Public Life reporter
To read both profiles visit: