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Journalists quickly develop thick skin to keep our sanity
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Monday, 30 January 2012 00:00

The newspaper business isn’t for the thin-skinned.

Every story we publish has fans and critics, even feel-good feature stories we’re sure everyone will love. Someone always has a problem with even those, and they let me know.

Even when we try to remain neutral and allow our readers to decide the state of the city or any given situation, we can be criticized.

Most recently, a visitor to our sister websites called challenging the relevance of our poll question.

The question, “After homicides, is Sedona still a safe city?” appeared at redrocknews.com following the double murder of two tourists just south of the city limits toward Cottonwood.

The man asked how this question was relevant because the murders did not take place in Sedona, and it was an isolated event.

Clearly, he thinks Sedona is still a safe city, which is one of the four answer options.

The question didn’t imply or assume Sedona isn’t safe. It asked our website readers what they think, and 46.3 percent of those who answered the question agree with him. The poll results are listed on Page 2A of the Friday, Jan. 20, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Were we wrong to ask? No, we were simply trying to gauge how the event affected the public.

We receive more hate mail and phone calls telling us we’re horrible people when the stories are controversial or involve crime, but I think readers would be surprised it can even happen when someone writes a story about a life being saved.

We have to let the insults roll off our backs, especially those that are personal. Criticism of the product is understandable and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and has the right to express that opinion. When the jabs turn personal — especially when we have never met the people dishing them out — that’s when the merit of the argument is lost.

We always welcome comments on our stories and work, whether they are positive or negative, but common courtesy goes a long way in getting your point across.

We’re all in this together, whether we agree or not on any number of issues, and it’s in all of our best interests to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a simple concept but seems to sometimes be the hardest for many adults to master.

 

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