Thursday, December 18, 2008

The need to be in charge

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yesterday's post made me think of another experience I had recently. I was trying to post a little note on a newspaper blog. There had been a story about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

When I made the post, the program kindly asked me to replace the word Negro. I wrote to the paper's ombudsman and asked him how they could get off not letting me use a word they themselves had used. And he responded that he didn't agree with me. They should censor that word.

All that made me think of the difference between newspapers and blogging. Newspaper people are trained to be in control. THEY decide which letters to the editor they print. And they decide whether or not you can use the word Negro instead of black, a word which is appropriate in some situations. After all the name Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is the name chosen by those who run that institution.

I think one of the reasons the Internet is really decimating newspapers as a medium of communication is that on the Internet people can respond. I myself don't go to sites where I can't put a comment.

I don't always want to comment, but if I do want to comment, I feel I should be able to. I understand my comment will be one of, sometimes, thousands. I know no one or very few people will read the comment. But at least I've commented.

I don't believe every comment should be allowed, even on the Internet, but I do believe there is greater latitude than in a newspaper.

Communication today has become more interactive. I receive letters from some who have read The Body in the Record Room, and I try to respond.

We can't always be in total control. That's the way life is. But it is good to be able to express your opinion when you need to.

If you would like to respond to this post, please leave a comment or go to my web site where there is an email address. Thanks.

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