2017-06-30 / Letters

Reader is disappointed in Sentry’s grad coverage

To the editor:

I was extremely reluctant for our family business to advertise as usual in the Sentry after the recent edition about the graduation of South Portland students highlighted on the front page.

For the second time in very recent years, the Sentry chose to highlight a photo of a student that was the most noticeable in expressing individuality, making a statement or otherwise defying the norm. A few years ago the main photo was a graduate wearing a horse head and this year a student who was also doing his own thing. These students are friends and classmates. Even if I personally don’t like it, how they conduct themselves at the ceremony and what they wear is between them and the school administrators. That is not my business.

That these photos were the first pictures seen in the newspaper though I think takes the focus away from showing the effort and the decorum of the moment and the distracts from the shining moments of so many. I would have chalked the recent issue up to another photo choice that I wouldn’t have made and moved on, but I continue to be disturbed and feel strongly about the caption attributed to Dick Matthews as he shook hands with that student. Dick does so much work for the schools and is an advocate for students in South Portland. Putting a caption that purportedly projected his sentiments about that graduating student – and one that was in fact negative – was very unprofessional.

When I called today for my advertising dollars, I needed to remind the Sentry that this type of reporting doesn’t sell advertising or make for satisfied readership. It goes against my conviction to advertise but our salesperson should not be penalized for something outside of her control. If the Sentry has read the Facebook posts in the community about this exact point it will find that I am one of many who share this opinion about the photo and its accompanying caption. Shame on the Sentry for this low moment. Strike two. South Portland deserves better. I know the Sentry can do better.

Bernadette Papi South Portland

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