Based off of a lot of comments I see on stories and columns published online, I feel like:
1. Most people don’t know the difference between news stories, which are based on facts given to writers from sources, and columns, which are based on opinion.
2. People tend to express themselves in the open forum provided in the comments section without considering the work put into each story.
Hours are put into each published story by writers, editors, photographers and more editors.
Facts have to be gathered from reliable sources and relayed accurately. Ever heard of writer’s block? Sometimes it takes reporters more time to come up with the appropriate words to match tone and accuracy than to conduct multiple interviews.
Columnists pour their hearts out in their writing, but people still feel it’s necessary to defecate on them in the comments section. I wonder if commenters would say those things to the writer’s face or if they’re only that bold behind the mask of online anonymity?
Yes, it is one of the top priorities of news agencies to provide an open forum for their readers. And yes, writers are human and sometimes they make mistakes.
However, readers should take just a second to think before commenting unnecessary hate under someone’s story, which everyone involved takes ownership over and is proud of. Reporters, columnists and their editors are just trying to do their job.
Reporters write and publish stories to get facts out to the community they serve. In The Shorthorn’s case, that means the UTA and Arlington communities.
If you want your opinion to be heard, write a letter to the editor or submit a guest column. Don’t post hate in response to a column or story that was 100 percent not meant to offend or spark unrest.
Columnists write to discuss a topic or event from their perspective. An open forum is provided in the comments section for readers to discuss the published columns, all of which are clearly marked as such in the headline and are placed in the opinion section. This is not an opportunity to post hateful comments attacking the writer or their opinions. Who does this hate benefit? It certainly doesn’t motivate the columnists, who put themselves on the line every time their pieces publish.
To compare, a student turns in an essay to a teacher, thinking they’re going to get an A because of all the hard work, time and effort put into it. Now picture red ink all over their paper, pointing out everything wrong in a nonconstructive way and a jarring grade they feel doesn’t reflect the work put into it. In fact, that’s probably happened to a lot of students, and it doesn’t feel too good, does it?
Please think before negatively commenting on a writer’s work.
Writers are humans, too. Writers have feelings, too.