Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Thursday, April 06, 2006





From the Edge: Editorial

 by Megan Irwin
 published on Thursday, April 6, 2006

Irwin<br>Editor in Chief/issues/arts/696558
Editor in Chief


As I sit down to write my column this week, my cheeks are a little red. Last week, in my haste to meet deadline, I made a glaring grammatical error. I failed to notice it. My assistant editor failed to notice it. Two copy editors failed to notice it.

But my readers didn't. I was pretty embarrassed, but I appreciated the feedback, especially when it was constructive.

But for every carefully composed letter, full of good advice, there was one full of insults. For some people there appears to be a formula for letter writing: Lead with a sarcastic remark calling the reporter's intelligence into question, followed by something witty proving the writer's intellectual superiority. Next, point out your grievance without any suggestions for how to fix it. Say you hate the publication, but fail to explain both why you still read it and how we could improve it. End with a snarky remark to again prove your mental fortitude and belittle your letter's recipient.

Don't get me wrong -- I love knowing what readers think and I feel a strong responsibility to address complaints. I want you to like this publication and if you don't, I want to know why. But this sort of intellectual masturbation isn't necessary.

A sarcastic letter lets us know you hate us, but it does little to intelligently communicate your point. It's not that I can't take an insult -- I actually don't mind when there's valid criticism buried somewhere between your acidic comments.

On that note, we tried something a little different this week with our cover story (Bigger than Hip-Hop, page 8.), Instead of publishing a story, we have attempted our first photo essay of the year. I'm curious to hear how you think it turned out.

I want to know if you like it. I especially want to know if you hate it. So write and let me know. Feel free to throw a personal attack or two in there if you wish -- I know I'm asking for it here -- just make sure you have a point.

Megan Irwin is the editor-in-chief of SPM. Reach her at

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