It’s My Opinion; Therefore, It’s The Only One That Counts

, , , | Right | January 13, 2020

(I work in HR for a news outlet. I’m rather amused one day when I receive an email in which a reader complains that we are writing about a certain blue or gold dress instead of “more pressing topics.” While it’s not actually my responsibility to answer it, I have a spare minute and the accusation that we’re writing about the “wrong stuff” is somewhat of a pet peeve of mine, as it is for many people working in journalism. I quickly type up an answer.)

Answer: “Dear [Reader],

Thank you for your feedback. While I understand the feeling that there are more pressing stories to write about, I can assure you that journalism is a highly specialized field with most journalists having very specific knowledge in their respective subject areas. A journalist writing about lifestyle topics would not otherwise write about politics or international affairs, like a sports reporter would not write for the economics department or about science. Furthermore, as the article you’re referencing is an online article, I can assure you that there’s no reason to worry about it taking away space necessary to report on other topics.

I promise we still report on urgent topics with the same frequency as we always have and we’ll continue to do so. If you have further feedback or questions regarding the contents of our site, I’d refer you to [Editor In Chief] at [Editor In Chief’s email address].”

(I don’t get an answer for several days, so I consider the affair settled, until I receive another email one morning from the same reader.)

Response: “Dear [My Name],

I don’t believe you, as I’m certain that there’s no journalist who would willingly write about such garbage. Let them write about something that matters, instead! Your newspaper would do significantly better, believe me.”

(Sure, it would improve the quality of our product immensely if we could only force our lifestyle department to write about the intricacies of foreign elections, lady! I’d really like to believe she was trolling with me, as nobody could be that confident in not understanding the concept and benefits of specialization. Then again, she wrote to HR to complain about our content.)

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