News gathering will always have its detractors

Mike Linn

Sunday’s story on an Eastern New Mexico University group that calls itself pagans has spurred a few interesting e-mails and one phone call.
I’d like to reinforce that the group has chosen to use “pagans” as an acronym meaning “people achieving goodness and nurturing spirituality.”
The dictionary’s definition of pagan is one who is not Christian, Moslem or Jew; or a person who has no religion.
One member, Brandy Propps, called to clarify that she does not induce healing spells on fellow members. When she told me about healing spells she said she was merely using herself as an example of what one might do.
Propps, who told me she was the vice president of the group, said she recently resigned that position. She said she is merely in the group to conduct research for an English class.
Propps also said another member does not want her name in the paper at all, as it may cause problems. Propps would not explain what problems would arise (the student’s name was not mentioned in Sunday’s story).
Another reader e-mailed me claiming certain aspects of the story may be viewed as offensive, such as the group’s belief that prayer and lighting candles are a form of magic.
As an editorial staff, it is not our job to make decisions or judgments about what others believe. Our mission was to let the public know what some people believe; whether it may be deemed offensive is not our call.
The e-mail also claimed that Mormons consider themselves Christians, and may take offense to a paragraph in the story that deems Mormonism as a separate religion.
I was trying to say that the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (Mormons) has beliefs quite different from most mainstream Christians. I wasn’t trying to offend, only clarify.
The news of the ENMU group came after I read an article in The Chase, which as of recently has a new editor-in-chief, Jon Lechel.
Since Lechel has been editor, several interesting and newsworthy stories have graced the pages of the student paper. He seems to have a good nose for news.
During a phone call to the ENMU president’s office researching the story, one of the employees there said Lechel has his group of student journalists digging hard for top-notch stories regarding news at the college.
Like myself, the woman thinks The Chase is getting much better under Lechel’s tutelage.

Mike Linn is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4483, ext. 33. His e-mail address is:
Mike_Linn@link.freedom.com