Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thanks for your comments ... keep them coming

When readers of our newspaper or website feel like expressing themselves on what they’ve read, they often let us know in different ways.

They might write a letter to the editor — so it gets published in the newspaper — or they use our website “article comment submission forms” and post online their comments.

One of the changes we made in the past was to add an anti-spam device so people have to type in a code they see. This gets rid of some of those automated spammers out there that frustrate so many other people that have websites or blogsites with unwanted advertisements or other inappropriate content.

If our readers wonder if we read their comments, the answer is yes: we do monitor what is posted.

Thank you to those that let us know if we have something wrong, if there is a date of some news event coming up, or even if they just tell us what their opinion is on a topic. It gives us something to think about on whether we selected a topic that interested people, how we wrote the article, and did we do a good job or perhaps miss some important angle or aspect in the story.

One of the articles that recently got a few people talking online was our editorial on China titled: “Pressure China on Food Safety,” published April 27. (See Capital Press editorial)

So far, we’ve received five comments on it. While we don’t know where they readers live, they did share one thing in common: each of them had concerns about importing food products from China and wanted to hold it to higher standards.

“The US was quick enough to ban beef products from UK and Canada when there was a fear of Mad Cow disease. The Chinese should certify all food products meet with FDA standards. Failure to do so should result in a complete ban on ALL Chinese food imports, essentially starting immediately. Also all Japanese and European countries should also join the ban. It is time enough for China to come in line with the rest of the world's industrialized countries,” wrote Ken Howton.

“We should only be able to buy products from other export companies if they can be tested and held as accountable as our own US producers. If they don't pass the same rigorous testing as American producers then we don't accept their products or foods. This is just common sense, of which there seems to be very little of these days. How can America compete when the bar is constantly shifting in favor of foreign suppliers, wrote Shari Cox.

John Bannan commented: “First, we should not import from China. If we do, everything should be inspected at the expense of the exporter in China, including their factories and fields, the same way that we inspect products made in the USA.
Let's start catering to jobs in America, not in Jobs in Mexico, China, Iraq, Brazil, India, etc. Also, some heads should roll when the FDA doesn't do proper inspections.”

And Joy Benemann said “I enjoyed this article. I myself am very worried about food quality.I would like to see a law that will force county of origin to be stated for all ingredients in food products so I can avoid Chinese food.”

Thank you, everyone, for writing.

When we receive compliments on articles, we do like to pass on the comments to those who wrote the stories or opinion pieces.

For example, on April 27, Oregon State University student Jamie Jaberg had a thoughtful opinion piece published in Capital Press titled “Budget levels threaten ag programs” (See opinion piece) The articulate senior, who has been studying in the Rangeland Ecology and Management Department at OSU, shared what the university has meant to her but also what her concerns are about the future of the university she will leave this spring.

She concluded with “Initially, I was thankful that I was graduating this spring so I wouldn't have to deal with the gutting of vital programs and sharp tuition increases that are the inevitable fall out from these higher education budget cuts. Then I began to think about the future. I plan to raise a family in Oregon and I'm beginning to doubt that at this rate my kids will have the same opportunities that I had as a student at OSU.

“If these budget cuts pass, my children will be more apt to choose a school out of state in order for them to receive the quality college education. Education is the most important gift we can give our children. With this in mind, I urge you to write, call, or meet your legislator and let them know that agriculturists support higher education.”

Michael Borman read her piece online and decided to post a comment.

“This is a very articulate, well-thoughtout article written by a senior at OSU. Hopefully the legislature is paying attention. We need more like her and without adequate funding we will miss some of them.”

His comments have been passed on to her.

We’d like to encourage other people to share their views with us, and thank again all those who took the time to write.

Also, don’t forget we now have another option: you can phone and leave a recorded message at any time at 1-800-285-6005.

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