What I learned in the last year from readers
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