Letters about letters
Responses to happenings at the Daily Mining Gazette
I have two letters to the editor to share with you today, both regarding Daver Karnosky’s recent firing from the Daily Mining Gazette.
Normally, The Inside Scoop is behind a paywall and has a comment section, but because of the importance of this topic to the community, and because of the Daily Mining Gazette’s current lack of a proper editorial and opinion section, I’m reversing both of those. Feel free to share this with people who might be interested.
If you yourself are interested in submitting a letter, you can find Copper Beacon’s editorial submission policy by clicking here.
“Everyone makes mistakes.”
While true, this platitude accomplishes little of value. An attitude of “oh well, nobody’s perfect,” may seem magnanimous on the surface, but does it actually serve the common good? Does it start a necessary conversation? Or does it simply enable the transgressor to avoid the hard work of acknowledging the harm they have caused and of making a commitment to do better?
A mistake was made on April 29, 2022, when the Daily Mining Gazette published a letter to the editor written by Gail Wickstrom which caused harm to the community, the reputation of the DMG, and, perhaps, to individuals who were traumatized by the letter’s vulgarity. Calls were made and emails were sent to the paper voicing displeasure in the choice to print this letter. A group was rallied and ready to pull together a public demonstration. Complaints were taking issue with the paper, the managing editor, and the author of the egregious letter. In other words, harm had been done and a significant number of people were not going to stand by without doing something about it.
Among those who did something about it were four Copper Country women who, on May 3, met with David (Daver) Karnosky, former managing editor of the DMG and the one who made the mistake of publishing the letter. Daver had been through a couple of hard days of non-stop attack, and he didn’t always respond appropriately to the criticism, choosing to offer excuses or explanations rather than apologies.
The invitation to meet resulted from an email exchange with Daver on May 2 where he ended his message by saying, “I have a lot to learn.” Indeed, he did… and still does. So, we decided to help him with that. The purpose of the meeting was not to beat him down. It was to help him understand why publishing this letter was a big mistake, to help him see the various ways individuals, the community, and the paper were harmed by this mistake, and to support him in his efforts to offer a proper apology.
It was a meeting full of hard truths, intentional listening, and, most importantly, grace. All of us, including Daver, left hopeful that this unfortunate incident could actually be an opportunity to address the persistent misogyny that society tolerates even when it is detrimental to both women and men. We were hopeful that this was a mistake that the paper could learn from, and Daver committed himself to write a heartfelt and humble apology and undertake a thorough review of the editorial policy of the paper. We were hopeful that if enough people committed themselves to do the hard work of doing better, this thing that wounded us and divided us could draw the community together for healing.
Unfortunately, the opportunity for healing and growth, for Daver Karnosky and the community, was missed when the DMG decided to take the easy way out. A paltry apology was published in the paper on May 3. Daver Karnosky was fired on May 4, and the editorial policy was published later that week, exposing its weakness but not offering any commitment to revise it. It seems there is no will to put in the hard work of doing better.
Nonetheless, there was a moment of grace at that meeting on May 3.
We want to thank Daver for his willingness to meet and his openness to learn. It gives us hope that, despite the missed opportunities of this moment, his mistake may have led to some growth and healing after all.
René Johnson, Carolyn Peterson, Sarah Semmler Smith, and Emma Dorst
An apology to DMG readers
To the editor:
I have spent the past week and a half trying to find the right words to say. It has not been easy.
When I joined the Daily Mining Gazette eight years ago, I never imagined that I would move from sports writer to assistant editor, from assistant editor to assistant/sports editor, and from assistant/sports editor to managing editor.
I took the job of sports writer to cover Michigan Tech sports. I discovered a love for the community as a whole I never had while growing up in the Houghton-Portage Township school system.
Throughout my career, I have always been a see-a-need, fill-a-need kind of person. That has led me to take on more responsibility than perhaps I should have at various points.
However, I have been proud to move up the ladder and take on the challenges that ensued. That makes this so hard to write, but also extremely necessary: to everyone who reads the DMG, both in print and online, I am so very sorry.
You as readers put your faith and your trust in me as the managing editor to make sure that the stories we put on the pages were the best they could be. Sure, sometimes I moved a little too fast and missed a spelling error, or I cut a paragraph off mid-sentence. Those are small mistakes in the grander scheme of things.
On Friday, April 29, I made a much bigger mistake, one that cost me my position. I decided to print a letter to the editor titled, “A Layman’s Appraisal.”
I could sit here and waste your time rattling off reasons why and how I made that decision I made, but that will not help anyone. The only one I will offer is that I worked hard to try to cover open positions that we had in the editorial department, so I was not always as attentive to small details as I should have been.
I did read the letter, but definitely not as closely as I should, instead reading it more for errors than content. As a result, I read the writer’s point of view one way, but the community read it differently.
I apologize for making such a lapse in judgment. I should have seen this letter for what it was. Instead of being something that could bring people together, it had the opposite effect, injuring much of the community.
With the damage it has caused, there is no way to take back the action of printing the letter.
I can only hope that now is the time for healing, a chance for all of us as a community to come together. That being said, I do have a question.
How can I help?