Within minutes of the new edition of the Reader hitting the streets today we heard from several callers who were deeply offended by the cover concept: a portrait of president-elect Barack Obama with the headline “Don’t Screw This Up.”

The callers told me we’re assuming he’ll screw up because he’s black. To the contrary, we have extremely high hopes for him.

But no matter how jubilant some of us may feel about his election, the media’s role isn’t to cheerlead for elected officials. We serve our readers: we’re observers and reporters and commentators. We were addressing Obama as the person — not the black person — whom we’ve handed an important new job and letting him know that even though we put him there, we’ll be watching. Would you expect anything else?