Journalism can’t be a one-way street anymore

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?