Newspaper apologises for placing gun advertisement next to story on Sandy Hook shooting

The Rock Hill Herald, a newspaper circulated in South Carolina, has issued an apology after running a three-quarter-page advertisement for a gun sale next to an editorial on last week’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Alongside the Herald’s coverage of the event, an uncomfortably eye-catching ad for Rock Hill’s Nicols Store – an outlet that at this time of the year has Smith & Wesson handguns and AR-15 assault rifles on sale – was incongruously placed adjacent to the now-iconic shot of Obama weeping the loss of 26 people, just one day after the horrific event transpired.

Editor Paul Osmundson hastily published an apology on the newspaper’s website, insisting that the callous lack of editing was unintentional, but surely someone on the layout and/ or editorial team would’ve noticed the absurdity before they hit publish?

In any case, here’s what Osmundson said:

“Dear reader,

In Saturday's Herald, an advertisement for guns was placed on a page near stories and a photograph about the tragic school shooting in Connecticut. Please be assured that this was neither intentional nor the fault of the advertiser, Nichols Store.

Advertisements are usually placed days before the newspaper lands on your doorstep. In this case, the advertisement in question was placed Thursday morning.

But we at The Herald should have recognized the unfortunate juxtaposition of the advertisement with stories and a photograph about gun violence.

Multiple editors worked on the page and should have noticed the problem. We all made a terrible mistake, and for that I apologize.

Please know that we will continue to strive to bring you a newspaper that is reflective of our community, insightful and sensitive to its readers.


Paul Osmundson



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