PORTLAND, Maine — The publisher of The Portland Press Herald is apologizing for giving Page One coverage to the end of Ramadan on Sept. 11, without any mention of the ninth anniversary of the terror attacks.
The print edition on Saturday featured a front-page photo of local Muslims bowing in prayer during a celebration marking the end of the Muslim holy month. The newspaper in Maine’s largest city published coverage of events marking the anniversary of the terror attacks the next day.
Editor and Publisher Richard Connor issued a front-page apology to readers who were offended.
Connor said the celebration by 3,000 Muslims at the Portland Expo warranted coverage but said the newspaper should have showed sensitivity “toward the painful memories stirred by the anniversary of 9/11.”
“In hindsight,” Connor wrote, “it is clear that we should have handled this differently and with greater sensitivity toward the painful memories stirred by the anniversary of 9/11.”
Last week, I welcomed a former colleague back into the news business. He retired at a young age after successful stints as a reporter, editor and then publisher of one of the country’s largest newspapers.
One of the responses that Connor said he sent to angry readers read as follows, he wrote:
“‘We are sorry you are offended by today’s front page photo and story and certainly understand your point of view. Many feel the same way. We do not offer the stock excuses you cite. We should have balanced this story with one that showed our sensitivity to today’s historic importance. You will see tomorrow that our planned coverage of today’s 9/11 events is extensive, far more so than the coverage of this event on Friday. We apologize for what may appear to be our insensitivity to the historic significance of this day. Tomorrow’s newspaper will feature extensive coverage of the commemoration of today’s events.’”