August 14, 2007

When Anthony O'Donnell's editor's note, Spitzer Schadenfreude, from our last Insurance & Technology newsletter led to some debate between readers, it got me thinking about how the emergence of the Web as a medium for news and information has increased the direct interaction between readers and content producers like editors and reporters. In fact, if recent developments from Google News are any indication, soon the subjects and sources contained within our articles could even get in on the act.I, for one, welcome the increased interaction between a writer and his audience. And, knowing Anthony's appreciation for healthy debate, I'm sure he feels the same. The informal character of blogging lends itself to increased writer-reader interaction, perhaps more so than more traditional news writing. Writing as bloggers and not reporters, we're able to interject our thoughts a little more, which, of course, means there's more content for readers to agree or disagree with. An Editor's Note is an opinion piece and one of the few opportunities we have to step outside the insurance industry with our writing. So, I guess it's no surprise that it's also the place where we're most likely to elicit a strong response from our readership.

Today though, rather than ruffle a few new feathers, I thought I'd share with everyone some feathers that I previously ruffled. It shows what happens when a less intelligent readership than that of Insurance & Technology provides a writer with "feedback."

Back at my old job as a reporter at a weekly newspaper, I wrote a story about the Ultimate Warrior, a former professional wrestler who now spends his time as a very controversial right-wing flamethrower. The gentleman, who legally changed his name to Warrior, got himself into some hot water at the University of Connecticut when, during a speaking engagement, he caused a near riot after making anti-homosexual remarks and sending a few vague insults towards a disagreeable student he believed was of a particular ethnicity.

In response to an article I wrote on the aftermath, I was called many names by wrestling fans near and far. My favorite came from a Warrior supporter who declined to give his name, but -- using poor grammar and circular logic -- had explained that I was, in fact, the prejudiced one and not Mr. Warrior. He finished off his comment by exclaiming, "SEE, IT IS YOU WHO ARE THE ONE WHO IS THE RASISTS!!!"

OK, so maybe all feedback isn't good feedback. Still, I implore you to comment away in the I&T blog. I'm looking forward to engaging readers in dialogue, especially when that dialogue has little to do with retired professional wrestlers.

- By Nathan Conz