Their Knowledge Is Week

, , , | Right | April 15, 2020

I’m working at a newspaper and I get a call from a customer.

Me: “[Newspaper]!”

Customer: “Yes, can you tell me how often your weekly paper comes out?”

Me: “Uh… I’m sorry can you repeat the question?”

Customer: “I said, can you tell me how often your weekly newspapers come out?”

Me: “Ma’am, our weekly papers come out every week.”

Customer: “Why was that so confusing? Thanks!” *Hangs up*

Coworker: “What was that?”

Me: “You don’t even want to know.”

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Rule One: Any Joke Ever Will Offend Someone

, , , , , , | Learning | January 29, 2020

In college, I was friends with someone who did articles for our campus newsletter, and at one point, they asked me if I wanted to try and do a piece. I made one entitled “The Gay Agenda,” which was basically listing of the different lists and “agendas” that I dealt with in my day-to-day life, from a shopping list, to a club meeting schedule, to my New Year’s resolutions. It was intended as a humorous piece to highlight the similarities between straight and gay students.

It was rather sad just how many people got completely furious over it; many of them obviously never read past the title. Some people accused me of trying to “trick” them into thinking they were gay, and others called me homophobic for daring to imply that homosexual people — such as myself — had an agenda. The backlash ended up getting the post removed from the newsletter’s website, but I’d still see people ranting about it or referencing it from time to time before I graduated.

So, it seems like it did unite people, just not the way I’d hoped.

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Unfiltered Story #182915

, , | Unfiltered | January 18, 2020

(I am a reporter for a small newspaper, and we often cover local events, and pictures from these events, frequently with kids doing cute things, are put in the paper. One summer day, I was in a rural neighbourhood, taking pictures of a games event put on by the neighbourhood. I spot a cute moment with a little girl, so I take a few pictures and talk to the male adult with the girl to get his permission to use her name for the caption. In the next issue, we have the picture of the girl on the front page. A week later, I get a call from a woman.)

Caller, speaking in a somewhat self-righteous way: “Hi, this is (Name) and you took a picture of my daughter, (Name) during the event we had on. It was recently on the front page of your paper. We made sure to get copies and distribute them to everyone we know, but you really need to know what you just did. You just took a picture of a little girl, with her name, age and neighbourhood.”
Me: “Yes, I did …”
Caller: “You put a child on the front page of the paper with her name, age and where she lives. You need to be careful with these things!”
Me: “Well, whenever we take a picture, we need to say who is in the picture, and where the picture was taken. I’m sorry you weren’t OK with me taking her picture. I talked to the other adult she was with, and he said it was OK.”
Caller: “Yes, that was her uncle. But you really need to understand what you just did! We were fine with it, but you need to be careful!”
Me: “Okay … I’m sorry about that.”

(I have taken dozens of pictures of kids and they have appeared in the paper, and I have not received one complaint from anyone about it! Usually, parents are so thrilled that their kids are in the paper that they save copies and sometimes even come into the office to get a copy of the paper. It was so strange that the lady was mad that I included all the necessary information, but was still so excited that her daughter was in the paper that she gave copies to many people.)

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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Unfiltered Story #167611

, , | Unfiltered | September 21, 2019

I recently had a request out for landscape oriented photos of animals for a contest. One lady sent me a portrait oriented photo, along with the same photo rotated 90 degrees, and told me to pick the one I thought was better. She’s going to be the only one running a gravity-defying cat.