We have a running joke here at The Knight that, despite the hours we editors spend toiling away into the wee hours of the morning each Tuesday, no one actually reads the finished product in the days that follow.
I know this is an exaggeration, but the fact that we are never able to have a proper letter to the editor section is somewhat telling – maybe not of the number of our readers, but of the interest of our readers to give us feedback.
This week, however, I received more feedback on one story than the sum total I have received during my two years on The Knight staff.
The story was about students who have given Greek life the old college try, but, for whatever reason, decided they couldn’t make the commitment.
The feedback I received in regard to the story, which was written by one of my staff writers, was mostly from current Greeks who are concerned that their respective organizations were not portrayed accurately in the article.
I consider myself to be a very congenial, understanding person. But that’s only if my writers and I are treated with respect. While the second response I received was conducted in a very tactful way, the first was appallingly callous.
It is very easy to be abrasive and scathing over the Internet. There’s a reason why cyber bullying has become ever more prevalent in today’s social media scene. Kids and teens berate each other cruelly over forums like Facebook and Twitter, and it’s easy for them to do so because they don’t have to take ownership for what they have said.
In general, I think communicating electronically, while it may be convenient and oftentimes necessary, allows people to completely disregard the most vital aspects of human communication – privileges that we possess as rational beings, such as understanding and empathy.
I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to respond passionately or emotionally to the content we publish in The Knight. On the contrary, I wish it happened more often. But only if it is done in a respectful and professional way, and if the person who has an issue actually takes the time to ensure that their qualms are warranted based on what The Knight’s protocol is.
If you have an issue with something you see in these 16 pages, email us. But be prepared for us to respond, which we will invariably do, and to talk out your issue with us. Any person on this staff would be more than happy to meet and discuss an issue face to face, without the cowardly barrier of a computer screen standing in the way.
If you don’t feel the need to meet, publish your complaint formally in the paper as a letter to the editor. If you are strong in your convictions, why not share them with the rest of the Gannon community and attach your name to it?
People make mistakes. I’m not saying that my staff writer did in her story last week, but if someone were of a different opinion, would that justify insensitivity?
I think there’s something to be said, forget about clichés and no matter the situation, for the old saying: “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”