A Phone Conversation

Me: Hello?
Caller: Hello?
Me: Yes, hello?
Caller: Hi, I’m from the local paper.
Me: Okay. (We get these calls several times a week. It’s getting kind of tiresome.)
Caller: Do you currently receive the paper?
Me: No.
Caller: Would you like to become a subscriber?
Me: No, thank you.
Caller: Well, have you ever read it?
Me: Yes, and that’s why I don’t want to buy it.
Caller: Say again?
Me: I’m not happy with your science coverage.
Caller: Science?
Me: Yes. I’m a scientist and I’m not happy with the quality of science journalism in the paper.
Caller: Well, I didn’t write it.
Me: I know. I’m just telling you why I don’t want to buy it.
Caller: Is it anything in particular? I mean, you say “science”…
Me: Climate science, in particular.
Caller: Climate science.
Me: Yes.
Caller: Was it a specific article?
Me: No, it was a pattern of articles over several years, relating to climate change. I’m a climate scientist and your coverage of this issue was so far off base that I could no longer support the paper.
Caller: Oh.
Me: Thanks for your interest. Please don’t call again.
Caller: My…interest?
End of call

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11 thoughts on “A Phone Conversation

  1. Nice. Have you tried offering the paper an occasional op-ed, along the lines of your blog posts? I would be happy to help offer editing suggestions.

  2. Lee Norton,
    Miss Kate has quite a following. I don’t know her numbers, but do see many references to her blog. I find her writing interesting and informative, and see references to her blog on other blogs.

  3. It may be pointless, but since the caller DID ask, it might be useful to have a list of articles to which you had particular objection, so you could direct the attention of the caller to something specific.

    After all, if the caller just reports, “Some people don’t like the way we cover climate science,” the Editor can only shrug. If he reports, “We’ve had complaints about Mr. X’s article on 2 January, and Mrs. Y’s article on 10 February,” there’s a chance that the Editor can spare a moment to see if there’s a common issue.

    I know this takes some time, but if there’s a 10% chance that you can affect the way paper’s coverage on climate, that’s actually a gamble worth making.

  4. I think what nealjking and some others are saying is a good point too — perhaps it’s most helpful to provide specifics, though I say this with some cynicism, too, that your specific complaints will never actually be acted on!

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