OUR VIEW: Not all criticism is constructive


by The Simpsonian editorial board

In this digital age, the ability to type up a message or a comment and send it in an instant makes us forget that, sometimes, we should be slow to speak, slow to anger. This same ability gives us a way to create conversation and give feedback.

Comments on news stories can help journalists improve. Readers often give ideas of different ways the story could have been approached, other sources to speak to and offer criticism to help us do better next time.

But not all criticism is constructive. In fact, some is downright rude. And, because it’s our job, journalists learn to develop a thick skin.

When controversial articles are published, we can expect the backlash and be proactive in defending our decisions. But we know doing so won’t act as a firewall against negative comments. People are always going to express their opinions.

We know we’re going to upset people. We know we can’t please everyone. And while most comments on Facebook or Twitter are not anonymous, some of them might as well have been.

If you’re going to be adamant about your opinions online, don’t flake on them when you see us around campus. We can take it; we’re all adults here.

Tell us how you really feel.

We know we made you upset. The least you can do is have a face-to-face conversation with us about why you feel the way you do.

As journalists, we choose our profession knowing we’ll make more enemies than friends. Do we like that reality? Not really. But we prepare ourselves for it anyway.

We are not our jobs. We are not the sometimes unfortunate and unpleasant articles we have to write and publish. We are not in it for the reads or the likes or the story.

We are humans. We have hearts. We’re as upset and hurt about the events that happened as many of you are.

We are here to inform you, to act as a watchdog for our audience. We care about your safety. We are here to help you make your voice heard, as well.

When something bad happens, we are all part of the same process to rebuild the community. To do that, we need your feedback, positive or negative.

As our way of holding up our end of the bargain, The Simpsonian will start having a table in Kent once a month. Stop and tell us how you feel. Angry? Tell us. Thankful? Tell us. Got an idea for a story? Tell us.

We’re here to have and create conversations, and we hope you’ll join us.