A few posts ago, Anne Linehan credited Chronicle Outlook editor David Langworthy for a “frank column” acknowledging public concerns about shortcomings of the mainstream media.
Recognizing the problem surely is a start, but my most recent experience of being ignored by the Chronicle‘s reader representative James T. Campbell and Langworthy himself suggests that the newspaper still has a ways to go in being responsive to readers who have questions about editorial policy and decisions.
To back up a bit — I actually wondered about the Chronicle‘s official policy on bylines for op-eds when I ran across a complaint on Charles Kuffner’s blog that the newspaper had run an op-ed with a “ridiculously uninformative byline….” Apparently, Kuffner thinks that the newspaper needs to edit supplied bylines. I got to thinking about it, and realized that even though I don’t really have his problem with the Chronicle‘s practices (seemingly, the policy is to run supplied bylines unless they are somehow inaccurate), it might be nice to know the official policy.
I sent James T. Campbell a polite email inquiry about the policy, beginning with a discussion of the criticism (and an admission that I didn’t agree with the criticism). He responded fairly quickly that mine was a recurring question, and that he would visit with David Langworthy and get me an answer “tomorrow.”
I didn’t hear from Campbell the next day, so I emailed again and asked if he had been able to get a statement of policy from Langworthy.
A day later, I forwarded the correspondence to Langworthy, along with a repeat of the question.
Still no response, a week after the initial email.
I understand that editors probably have more important things to do than answer questions from bloggers, but it seems strange to promise an answer to a legitimate question about editorial policy and then not to deliver, and to ignore subsequent emails on the topic.
Given Langworthy’s “frank” column, it’s stranger still.