What I learned in the last year from read­ers

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE -

I pub­lished my first In­side the News­room col­umn about a year ago, where I promised “to write about what the news­room does and why we do it — and, more im­por­tantly, to lis­ten bet­ter to what you are telling us.”

Af­ter about 50 col­umns, hun­dreds of calls and more than 1,500 emails, here is what I learned:

The No. 1 is­sue I hear is about cov­er­age of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, with the most in­ter­est in my col­umn about the edi­to­rial board’s de­ci­sion to an­nounce it would not en­dorse Trump in 2020. The feed­back, chron­i­cled in a June col­umn, ranged from out­rage to sup­port, with a bit more of the lat­ter com­ing from out­side Cen­tral Florida. We lost some sub­scribers but gained some, too. (I’m look­ing for­ward to hear­ing what you think about the im­peach­ment edi­to­rial this week. Re­mem­ber, I am not a mem­ber of the edi­to­rial board.)

I’ve had sev­eral civil dis­cus­sions with read­ers about Trump cov­er­age, hear­ing about their per­cep­tions of bias and shar­ing my thoughts. To those read­ers, I am grate­ful. It is the rea­son we started the col­umn, so we could have a talk and learn from each other.

But those in­ter­ac­tions were the mi­nor­ity.

My in­box fills with far more at­tacks on the news­pa­per, my pro­fes­sion and my char­ac­ter. I read all my email but have stopped re­spond­ing to the vilest at­tacks, be­cause, hon­estly, what’s the point? (I do trea­sure the reader who called me a Sorry Lit­tle Snowflake, which I plan to name my band when I re­tire.)

Al­though Trump was the most pop­u­lar over­all topic for read­ers, it was not the col­umn that drew the most at­ten­tion. That was when I ex­plained why we wrote about WFTV an­chor Martha Su­glaski’s di­vorce. I’d say op­po­si­tion to that de­ci­sion from the read­ers who con­tacted me was

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