COLUMN: Please talk to Central Michigan Life, not just about us


When people feel inclined to review a business, it’s rarely because they think the business’ service was average. They either love it or they hate it. Businesses promote the opportunity customers have to review their product/service in emails, on receipts and anywhere else it can deliver its message. 

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, these reviews find their way to the business and help make it better. Positive feedback reinforces what the organization is doing right, while negative feedback helps point out faulty or inefficient processes and gives the organization an opportunity to evolve and become better. 

What’s great is the feedback is sent directly to people in the system. 

Lately, Central Michigan Life hasn’t received any criticism or comments it can adequately respond to, because the channels it receives input from are anonymous or indirect. 

Take Twitter, for example. Mentioning CM Life in a tweet will get your followers to know your stance on the organization in 240 characters or less, but we won’t actually be able to improve. 

Unless you only plan on giving your opinion to your followers, you can elaborate on those 240 characters and communicate with us directly to help us make real change in how information gets disseminated to our community. 

In other words, this is my suggestion to you to give your feedback to CM Life in the form of a guest column or letter to the editor. Write to us about your concerns regarding how we cover topics you care about, ask us questions about how we report on things. We’re students, too. We want to improve and learn – that’s why we’re at Central Michigan University. 

We do our best to look out for the student body at the university and hold our administration accountable, but from what I’ve seen on social media, some people don’t think we’re at peak performance. 

Do I see what people are saying? Yes. Do I talk about it with my coworkers? Yes. Do I try to find ways to improve based on what I see? Of course. It’s my job to do so.  

But do I see all of the constructive criticism put out onto the internet? Am I able to communicate with concerned readers about specific situations they’ve noticed so my coworkers and I can pinpoint things we need to work on directly without being forced to guess what they’re talking about? 

Not at all. 

Tell us you think we’re “snowflakes” or “fake news” in the form of direct communication, give us examples of our work that leads you to believe this with information to back up a contradictory claim and we’ll take your perspective into consideration. Tell us you think the way we reported on an athletic or Greek life event was biased and we’ll discuss the issue with you. Tell us when we mis-gender a source. 

People seem very eager to put their opinions online, but not as eager to put them to work; it’s the same as listening to people with strong political opinions who then turn around and say they don’t vote. 

Writing to us about what you’d like to see happen with our organization will, at the very least, bring the issues you’re worried about to our attention. We will see your concerns. We will read them and we will discuss them. At most, your piece will have our eyes, ears and thoughts, and will also be published in our paper for your peers and community to read. 

We’re going to report on what happens in this community whether you provide us with constructive criticism and hold us accountable or not. But for the sake of good journalism in this day in age, I really hope you do.