Another example of the right way to apologize and own your errors

I dislike the way many people try to apologize today. The typical “I’m sorry if you were offended” is not an apology. Not even close.

Here is a superb illustration of the right way to apologize. Check out Via Meadia Blew It.

I missed the original issue, but apparently a Via Meadia post unjustly insulted another journalist. Look at the first part of the key apology paragraph:

There is no point in recounting the twists and turns of the editorial process that led to a poorly expressed and unfair post appearing on the site. As the editor of the site and the Mead in Via Meadia, the responsibility for what happened is mine and mine alone. I want to apologize to {the journalist} for a mean spirited jab that was unfair to him, to our readers and fell short of the standards of fairness, courtesy and accuracy we try to uphold on the site.

Very clear ownership. Identifying what gave offense, that it did in fact give offense, and that taking offense was reasonable. Also note the clear “I apologize.” There is no doubt who gets the blame.

And just in case you weren’t already sure that something was wrong and whose fault it was, check this out:

This was not a borderline case; it was wrong and in failing to establish a process that would prevent this kind of error, I have made a grievous mistake.

The post has another paragraph that gives background on how the offense arose. It does not attempt to excuse the incident. Instead, it provides some background which provides a base to show commitment to not repeating the offense. It also indirectly illustrates again Mr. Mead’s responsibility for what happened.

There are multiple writers working on Via Meadia and the articles are not signed. Just in case you forgot who was making the apology, Mr. Mead signed this article.

The author of the original comment is not identified. Why? Because it isn’t his or her fault.

For more comments on how to apologize and example of someone who didn’t, click the “apologies-good and bad” in the tag cloud to the right.

If I get into such a jam, I hope I find the courage to apologize this clearly.

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