Mike Jenner talked today about how the Californian handled the huge response it received to the photograph and story it published on its front page of dead pets in barrels. You saw that the paper published many of the reponses, giving voice to the diversity of opinion.
Mike sent this note after class to share with all of you:
…with the publication of this piece, we made the issue of throwaway animals something of a crusade, and have published several dozen stories on this topic since then.
And I bet reader feedback helped guide the ongoing reporting of this important story.
The news organization- or reporter-reader relationship is important, though sometimes it’s difficult to tolerate the extremity of reader opinion. We receive phone calls, email and story comments here at the Missourian that I sometimes find offensive. But learning to listen and be receptive is crucial. It was part of the “cultural change” story of the Californian and the secret to success of many new and old journalism projects.
Listening goes a long, long way.