Had occasion to meet – in person, with handshakes and in the flesh and all – some veteran readers this week, and they all turned out to be as fun and as engaging as we’d imagined them after months and years conversing via the InterWeb.
Most of them actually looked like their Profile Avatars, too, imagine that.
We’re not sure if the Capistrano Effect that Thanksgiving usually has around the 24/680, with expatriates flying in from near and far for reunions with friends or family is in play early this year or not, but it was good seeing The Saint Louis Kid, Green Mamba, Malibu Gal and Phuket Bill. (You guys are free to identify yourselves if you wish, but we don’t out anyone without permission – this being the Internet and all).
We carved out some time for a Pint and a Catch Up with these folks this week and enjoyed every minute of it. One of the side benefits of taking personal time off from the business is having people you know tell you how it should be run. And we listened to everything you had to say, even after you all said: “Don’t take this personally, BUT…”
That But. There’s always the but.
What we really learned was this: you care. We’ve worked on big papers and small papers, been around a little and seen the elephant a time or three – BUT we’ve never seen the level of engagement you folks seem to have for our little operation anywhere else. It was fascinating to hear what you thought about what we do, how you managed to pick up on the itty-bitty, embedded nuggets of subliminal information we tuck into our unworthy offering from time to time.
Because, as we’ve said: We like to make you work a little for your news, to keep you guessing and maybe, just maybe, to have a little fun in the process. And it appears you have big plans for us, too, with all of you urging us on to bigger and better things. Hmm.
Things were a little wild and wooly in our part of the Golden West this week, with people doing some silly things they may not have done with a little forethought – and then doing them again even after we wrote about it and shared the news of their exploits with thousands.
Things you may want to consider re-thinking as we enter a brand new week:
- How you conduct your Craigslist Transactions
- Trying to outrun police while hauling a boat or trailer
- Sending a $1,300 Moneygram to a guy calling himself “Ernie” in Mumbai
- Drinking too much on a barstool without restraining arms or seat belts
- Showing a carload of high school friends what your daddy’s 500 Series Beemer can do
- Lecturing your local news guy about things other people do or say
Another thing we noticed this week, and it is something that has been building up these last month or so (in our opinion) – is that people around these parts are waiting for something, holding back some of that pent-up energy and saving it for something we can only guess is going to roll around the first week of November. It’s just a guess, but this little operation of ours gives us a good opportunity to take the pulse of the neighborhoods (even though we missed that 2016 Election call by a mile) and everyone seems to be holding their breath.
Maybe it’s just our imagination. We shall see.
“Lecturing your local news guy about things other people say or do.” This should be against anyone’s better judgment. Nobody likes to be told how to do their job. One of these situations applied to me. Using my last name on the internet is against my better judgment. Ask anyone who has ever been stalked online. It could happen to anyone, and thankfully I don’t care to put myself in that position where it could happen to me.
I also don’t care to be told not to speak my mind. I’m a mature adult – thank you. This is the internet.
Have a nice day…
Hey, Danielle – we get told HOW to do our job(s) all the time. Goes with the territory and we actually learn from it, sometimes, but we were talking more about the tendency by some readers to associate the acts of others TO US. We have avenues open to readers wishing to express themselves on various topics (comment stream, Letters to the Editor, etc.) but some seem to hold us personally responsible for the actions of others – lack of prosecution, errant parental judgements, poor decision-making protocols – and it appears people want to lecture SOMEONE about that and that someone, apparently, is us. And that couldn’t be any more misguided so we mentioned it…
The media will always take the heat, but you did anger a lot of people (parents and non-parents) over the baby in Moraga. You lost some readers. It happens. It’s your site, and you can run it anyway you like. The world would be boring if we were all the same…
Pray, how did we anger people? Aside from being the people to first report it and choosing to measure the tone people chose to adopt in referring to the parent? If that’s the reference it is not off-putting, as angering people from time to time is built into our equation. It’s going to happen. And you’re right, it IS our site and we WILL run it as we see fit and NOT as someone THINKS it should be run. But that comes as news to us as our metrics went off the chart on that particular story. Since then, we have been DELUGED with links to similar stories which ended in prosecution and we THINK that is the point the senders are trying to make, but our return emails are blocked by the sender and no one has taken us up on our offer to raise the point by putting their name on a letter to the editor. So, again, lecturing us about the decision not to prosecute in that case was not only waaay off the mark it is absurd. We still feel people could have expressed those beliefs in a measured letter to the editor – but no one took us up on our offer to pen one.
By choosing to measure the tone is correct. I actually defended your position, even though I disagreed with it. I have no idea who is emailing you, but if they’re blocking you – these are probably people I don’t know, and they sound pretty angry. The reason people (I know) were angry is because you were “one sided” on defending negligence. I understand erring on the side of compassion for the family, but you need to keep in mind that “one sidedness” especially the circumstances will INFURIATE readers – especially parents.
A friend of mine asked me how I would have handled it. I told her it didn’t matter because I’m not a journalist. But if she’s reading – I would have closed the comments out of fairness for the readers (both sides) and out of respect for the family. If the story was local – and it was. If the story wasn’t local, I would keep the comments open, and let everyone speak their minds. A site (partnered with this site) let readers speak freely, including one person who wanted “the death penalty.” Oh, my. I was surprised that comment made it past moderation, and wasn’t eventually deleted. He’s a parent. And it’s his site. A SF news site closed the comments. I understand why.
I know you’re not a parent, so you can’t possibly relate to parental anger and parental pain. It cuts very deep – especially mom’s. You have to have given birth a few times to understand.
I agree that lecturing you is absurd. They’re probably just venting, and you shouldn’t take it personally.
Lastly, you can err on the side of tact, or err on the side of being authentic. You can’t be both (at the same time). I’ll come out of my shell one day…
Rather nice post, as we’ve come to expect from you – even if you happen to be on the other side of the fence from us. No problem. But now that we know what we’re talking about we will say that we did delete a couple of posts from the site and our Facebook page when, after posting the news of this particular incident, we received some rather pointed comments from readers relative to responsibility and punishment. We thought these comments aggressive and pretty dang tough in the hours immediately after a family lost a child and did delete those posts. We honestly cannot remember at this moment if they were “signed” or posted anonymously, at the time it did not matter to us. It is not the first time we have done this, remembering some particularly cruel posts received after the shooting death of a highway patrol officer on I680 some years ago. While it is interesting to see how other news organizations responded we stand by our decision to take a humane stance in both these cases as some pretty vile messages were received. We’ve said it before, we don’t want to be censors and hope we don’t have to be, but we are human and we’re not going to let someone with no personal knowledge of an incident off-handedly demean a grieving parent or slain police officer. Ain’t gonna happen. Not here.
Who or what is the green mamba?
We’ll never say, for The Mamba’s venom is swift…
I am at this very moment designing a barstool with seat belts and airbags. If I can only save just one life.
We’d be happy to take it out for a test drive for you…
We need to rethink a LOT of things.
Take some stuff over the Moraga baby case? I know people were really upset by that
That one and others, Alice. Yes.
I for one can’t wait for November. Blue Tsunami.
We shall see, Katherine. Interested to know what our fellow citizens think the country should be.
Charmin’ the Green Mamba AND The Saint Louis Kid. That ain’t no everyday job!
You guys get the most interesting discussions. Mambas? Rampaging parents? You have to have thick skins to do what you do.
Yeh I’m kind of hooked on these now. Are they going to be a every Sunday kind of thing?