Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » What would you say to such a caller?


We get a lot of phone calls at the Advocate, and we're glad we do.

This voice-mail left Thursday, though, stood out because of the venom in the tone and the disturbing content:

"I understand that you're in charge of putting articles on the front page in the newspaper. You made a big mistake of putting that article on the front page this morning of the MUSLIMS. You know, with the way our economy is and everybody disliking the Muslims, nobody wants to see that on the front page. All of the seniors that I know of now are fixing to CANCEL subscriptions with y'all or either going to let their subscriptions run out and never renew them.

"You made a BIG mistake."

The Wednesday article, "Victoria Islamic Center observes end to Ramadan," was written by faith reporter Jennifer Preyss and accompanied by a striking photo by Frank Tilley. The caller didn't leave her name or number, but I did speak earlier that day with another caller who offered a similar sentiment.

She asserted we would never put such an article about Christians on the front page. I replied that we do all of the time and that we think faith is an important beat. Of course, we have similar articles at Christmas and Easter, not to mention many other times such as extensive coverage of Gov. Rick Perry's prayer rally or Faith Academy's "Back to School Bash" or Thursday's community gathering to pray for rain.

She said Wednesday's article was why she didn't subscribe to the newspaper. I asked, "You really don't subscribe because we occasionally write a story about Muslims?"

She answered she was entitled to her opinion. I agreed and thanked her for calling.

As we prepare to observe the 10th anniversary of 9/11, what have we learned as a country? What would you say to these two callers?