Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mail Call #12: Actually no, it's not my job

In lieu of responding to this email sender directly, I figured I'd put this out to the world in an effort to educate folks about how opinion writing can sometimes work.

Email:
Mills-
I wrote you a week ago and am still waiting for an answer. Isn't it part of your job to answer reader email or only those that pander to the liberal viewpoint?

Paul from Menomonee Falls
Thanks for asking, Paul! To answer: No, it is not part of my job to answer any or all reader emails. I am a freelance writer, therefor not employed by the Journal Sentinel. I get paid a fixed amount to write a weekly column and that's it. The time I spend responding to reader emails is all pro bono/off the clock. I don't get paid for it. I still do it, though, when people send me thoughtful questions or stories or responses - yes, even those people who disagree with me, so long as it's in a coherent way that doesn't just spend a lot of time insulting my person.

Paul's first email, it should be noted, did not fall into that category.

So there you have it, friends: Not all opinion/column writers are employed by the papers that run their work. Actually, I'd venture to guess we're freelance more often than not, these days. And we don't get paid to spend time responding to all of the vitriol that finds it's way into our inboxes. You wanna throw me a few bucks to do it, though? Feel free.

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