Entitled “BC NDP housing policies destroying British Columbians’ wealth”, it was written by the COO of a steel company, and it railed against the policies the government has enacted in order to effectively help bring down the value of real estate.
Within an hour of it going up on our Facebook Page, 270 people had commented saying they hated it, some said they hated us, and others straight up told us we’re garbage. 68 people completely unfollowed our page in that time frame, some of them sent DMs to let us know we’re “scum” on their way out the door.
It’s sometimes hard to hear through the noise that is the internet and its culture of people complaining about everything and find actual fault in something you did. But in this case there was no noise; we did a bad thing.
First, the piece was mistakenly published to look like “News” as opposed to “Opinion”. It’s not news that a steel company COO doesn’t like property values going down. That mistake was fixed shortly after it went up, but it didn’t matter because…
Second, we framed it in a way we wouldn’t normally, and it looked as though we supported the opinion. We knew most people wouldn’t agree with the column, and the fact is that most of those I polled in our newsroom also don’t. Framing it with a cringing emoji or “Really?” as the caption, or in a humorous way would have let you know we’re not trying to scold the NDP or say we – as a media outlet – think their policies are bad, but present someone else’s opinion from outside of our newsroom.
And maybe the voice of an angry business person has no place on V.I.A.
We took the piece down after a couple of hours and erased any trace of it, but we feel it’s important to address it and for you to see how the sausage is made over here. And we want to be able to apologize to you, and let you know that we’re working to do better every single day.
We’re sorry for this one.
And while we’re sorry, we do feel it’s important for you to be exposed to opinions that you don’t agree with.
About 30% of the time I look at Grant Lawrence’s weekly column that we pay him to write for us and I shake my head in non-agreement. I love that I don’t agree with him; it offers me a look at things from a different angle than what I see in my immediate bubble.
For that reason we will continue to publish opinion columns that you – and we – might not agree with.
We also want you to be a part of the conversation. We want to hear what you think of what we publish, and of what’s going on in your part of the city.
In the coming months we’ll be introducing more ways for you to get involved in the publishing decisions we make. In the meantime shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got an opinion that you want us to publish. Even if it’s not a popular one.