Editorials

Opinion: Want to sing praise for an unsung hero?

As Thanksgiving approaches, we think it’s especially appropriate to honor those who unselfishly use their energy and skills to help others. But we need your help.

We’re looking for county residents who go out of their way to assist others — through volunteer service or by rising to the occasion in an emergency, for example — and who seek nothing in return for their actions. Such individuals rarely, if ever, receive widespread attention. They’re simply pleased with the satisfaction that comes from doing such good deeds.

If you know someone who fits this description — a friend, neighbor, teacher, committed volunteer — please let us know.

E-mail us c/o letters@thetribunenews.com or write c/o Unsung Heroes, Opinion Desk, The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, 93406-0112. Explain in detail why you believe your nominee is an Unsung Hero, and include contact information for yourself and the nominee.

We will publish our Unsung Heroes series for the fifth consecutive year during Thanksgiving Week.

Q: I would pay for The Tribune online if I could read it like a newspaper; it would save paper and press time.

— Pamela Lee, San Luis Obispo A: You can now do this. Just go to our home page, www.sanluisobispo.com, and click on iTribune at the top of the page. You’ll get a quick sample of our iTribune electronic edition, and you can order your subscription online. Subscriptions cost $6 a month for full access, including 30 days of back issues, according to Paul Taylor, vice president of circulation.

For those unfamiliar with this concept, newspapers nationwide are starting to offer their publication online in the same format that you’d receive it in print. You just click on the pages to turn them, and you can magnify stories as desired. The iTribune subscribers also will be able to read breaking news stories, as well as newspaper inserts, as they’re looking at the electronic edition.

A win for consumers:

Bloggers who review or offer testimonials on products will soon have to disclose any freebies or payments they receive from companies for doing so.

The Federal Trade Commission last week also said advertisers featuring testimonials that claim dramatic results can’t hide behind disclaimers that the results aren’t typical, according to the Associated Press. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could result in various sanctions, including a lawsuit, the AP said.

I’m sharing this news in light of previous reader questions wondering if Tribune staff members who blog are paid per story. They’re not, and their blog entries are held to the same standards as the stories they write for The Tribune.

Among other things, that means they’re not allowed to receive gifts or perks in exchange for favorable comments. This isn’t true for bloggers who aren’t journalists. Consumer advocates had pressed for disclosure, noting that unethical, nonjournalist bloggers have been steering consumers in the wrong direction.

That’s why the FTC took action.

Not since 1980 has the FTC revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials. Do you have a question about our news decisions or news operation? Please write to me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93406-0112, or e-mail me at sduerr@thetribunenews.com.

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