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Pearlman tracks down one of his agitators, calls him up

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by novelist_wannabe, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Make sure you have thick skin. Little surprised Pearlman took the time to do this.

  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    Takes guts to do that. Any many papers, you'd be fired for doing what he did.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    For contacting a commenter? Why would you get fired for that?

    I related to this experience. Over the year, I've e-mailed a number of really nasty people who have written terrible things -- usually wrong if I take the trouble to contact them -- about the website or to my writers. And with a couple of exceptions, they immediately become humans, either nice or intimidated, and are often extremely apologetic. It's akin to road rage -- you do and say things that you simply wouldn't to somebody's face.

    Sort of like here, in fact, obviously.
  4. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    So civility is lacking on web comment threads. Agreed. And a good column.

    But in the fifth graph there's an example of something else lacking in web journalism: good editing. Hate to be the language stickler, but he's got "phase" when he means "faze." That one always jumps out at me when I see it.
  5. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    I was just about to make a crack about that, but you beat me to it.
  6. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    Ditto. I was going to say I liked everything about the piece except that.
  7. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    I don't remember the conversations with those who liked something I wrote or, later, a decision I made as an editor. But I absolutely relished conversations with the rippers. They all back down on the phone. Even better is when they backed down in my initial email response just asking to talk with them.
    And, yeah, back in the day before kids, mortgages, real responsibilities or Doyel turned threatening to kick everybody's ass into a cliche, I'd occasionally include the name of the boxing gym where I worked out and an invitation to join me. A few said they would. No one ever did.
    I pissed off a college player who didn't like something I wrote about his father, a local coach. He and 10 of his teammates found me in the gym, shooting by myself. Dude asked me my name. I told him and kept shooting. He and his boys stood there and watched for a few minutes, then they left without saying another word.
    It's real easy to be a bad ass, until it's time to be a bad ass.
  8. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    I used to love the callerss who would rip via voice mail with no name or number.
    Then I'd call them back and they'd be flabbergasted - "I didn't think anybody'd really lissen to dat." Or, "How'd you get this number?"

    BEEP - Incoming message from B-R-5-4-9 at 11:01 a.m. - BEEP "HEY YOU DUMBASS YOU SUCK."
  9. GermanKeyser

    GermanKeyser Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    I don't think it can be said any better...

    (from overheard in the newsroom)

    Reporter: “We should have a Christmas party and invite all of our commenters. We can call it 'Say it to my face.'"
  10. Mike Nadel

    Mike Nadel Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    During my 11 years as a Chicago columnist (Copley/GateHouse), I answered every single e-mail -- and snail mail, for that matter -- that I received. I would estimate having this kind of experience at least 1,000 times. They'd call me an a-hole (and worse); I'd admonish them for their tone and explain why I wrote what I did; they would back down and tell me how great a writer I was and what a wonderful human being I was for taking the time to respond. Several went on to become "pen pals" for years, as if I wanted that.

    During my 16 years with AP before that -- including 10 in Minneapolis, where I wrote a weekly column that pretty much every paper in the state ran -- I received maybe 5 letters by snail mail.

    You have to REALLY give a damn to take the time to write a letter, put a stamp on the envelope and walk to the mail box. E-mails are easy. Post-story comments, even easier. Ah, anonymity is grand.

    There's a reason knee-jerk has "jerk" in it.
  11. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    Great column. Reminds me of a mailbag one I did last year, picking my favorite angry e-mails and comments and responding to them in a fairly sarcastic manner.

    Of course, his took a lot more effort than mine did.
  12. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Re: So you want to work in SJ?

    I respond to e-mails and usually get the same type of backpedaling if they've crossed the line of civility. But I don't think I'd ever print that. It makes us look like thin skinned whiners and we don't need that in these tough times. I don't see where writing a column derriding our audience and saying we're petty and read every comment and take it personally helps our business. Then again, since the column is on CNN, I guess its not for our business.
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