I don’t know who made up the rule that news reporters aren’t supposed to respond to public comments about and critiques of their work. Maybe it’s not even a rule. Maybe its one of those arbitrary rules that somebody thought was a good idea once upon a time, though it really had no basis in life — like not ending an English sentence with a preposition.
Either way, it’s about time we got over ourselves as some institution of capital-J Journalism and responded to readers in the comments sections of our sites, engaged with them on Twitter and answered their questions on Facebook.
As Robert Quigley at Old Media New Tricks writes, “People seem to think we’re a giant, uncaring media corporation. They’re pleasantly surprised when they get a real human response.”
For the sake of argument though, what’s the justification for maintaining a wall of silence? Why should we not respond to reader questions and concerns? Anyone?