Editor’s Viewpoint: What’s your two cents worth?
Considering the inflation that has occurred since you were born, what do you think your two cents is worth today? Surprisingly enough, thanks to the Internet, it’s worth more than you think. In fact, your two cents is worth quite a bit to many people, from local and state governments to magazine editors.
The value of your two cents begins with the concept that there are new and productive ways to serve our audiences. Why else would your community have a website or a call center, except to hear from your constituents and why would we spend the time improving our website — which we recently did — or inviting you to join our Facebook site if we didn’t want to hear your thoughts?
There’s one simple reason we want to hear from those we serve: We want to improve our judgment, which in the end, is what we are paid for. Yes, you can decide which tasks to assign today or we can assign stories without additional information from our audiences, but their input could help us make better decisions.
We routinely create our content by first seeking individual advice from our audience, but we also are finding that the stories written by our readers, such as the “Commentary” column, have affected the development of features and Issues & Trends stories. Gauging from the amount of really smart advice coming from you in those columns, it became clear that we should also expand your ability to speak to your colleagues across the country through our new website. Since we launched the site only a few weeks ago, we are beginning to see more discussions and fewer one-off comments.
We learn from most of those discussions, too, because the value of your experiences shines through them. The point of inviting our readers to contribute a column or blog — or for you to adapt to mobile-device communications — is the same. Our time, funds and people are stretched, so we need the help of those we serve to identify which end of the bull to grab every day, knowing that grabbing the wrong end could result in our teeth being kicked out.
I know that every time you turn around, you are being invited to “Join the conversation.” Instead, I invite you to join us in helping your profession, as well as ours, evolve. Please take a minute to kick around on our new website, join our Facebook page or email us individually. Also, comment on our stories, which most often give voice to your colleagues across the country.
So, don’t be shy. Put in your two cents worth. You might be surprised just how much value it has.