Letter: Center for Public Integrity stands by its Hanford story

November 27, 2013 

The editorial in the Nov. 24 Herald said a recent article about Hanford by the Center for Public Integrity contained "two major flaws that gave us pause," and described editing changes the newspaper said had prevented misperceptions.

I respect the Tri-City Herald and its editors. But as the managing editor for national security at the Center, I dispute that the article had any major flaws.

The article was -- from the 2nd paragraph onward -- focused particularly and transparently on the effort to dispose of wastes in underground tanks. Important and successful remediation has occurred elsewhere at Hanford, but we believe the article legitimately concentrated on one of the most costly, troublesome and persistent environmental messes at the site. I know that much of the controversy is locally familiar, but it's still news to many people elsewhere in the country.

The editing changes largely restored information included in the full, 4,000-word version of our article, appearing on our own website and co-published with others. The McClatchy newspaper chain's office in Washington, D.C., which distributed our article nationwide, understandably asked for a shorter version and so we necessarily omitted some details in what we sent, while welcoming inclusion of the information in the story published by the Tri-City Herald.

My point here is to ensure your readers know that all of us here at the Center -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan, investigative newsroom -- care deeply about producing fair and complete accounts of the topics we tackle. This article fully met this standard.

R. JEFFREY SMITH, Washington, D.C.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service