On a chaotic day in the newsroom, as the Blogs Editor of Dawn.com, I have to admit to a foolish pang of relief as I glance over at the statistics scrambling side of the room before settling down in my comparatively cozier seat of subjectivity. However, many days of this year have also taught me to not get too comfortable.
Along with those occasional days, this year has brought a profound realisation of the power of Dawn.com’s platform. The powerful global reach of this platform humbles me, utterly.
This power has relentlessly fuelled Dawn.com’s responsibility for being truthful and impartial, which bequeaths an even larger podium to you, its readers.
And that is where the dilemma for the Blogs Section begins: What should the readers be critically thinking about today?
There would have been no easy way out of this dilemma, had it not been for my phenomenally courageous team of bloggers. Especially for the kind of year 2012 has been, they have tirelessly tried to make sense of it over and over again, being eloquent in expression and meeting near impossible deadlines all the while.
There is not enough space, virtual or otherwise, to elaborate upon my association with each Dawn.com blogger. Suffice to say, voluminous correspondence, attempts at pragmatism, dogged determination, small victories and even smaller mercies later; the thrill of the writer-editor relationship is still alive.
Of course there are instances right before hitting the publish button, when my doubt-speckled mind connects with my frantically racing heart and I know that my own views lie on the opposite extreme of a blogger’s views. In other instances, I have treaded the treacherous line between a brilliant but controversial blog and editorial policy.
These edgy occurrences are sometimes further amplified by a barrage of Twitter campaigns accusing Dawn.com of being ‘Indian agents’, ‘US supporters’ and ‘anti religion’, along with threats, demands for removing published content, reprimands for hurting sensibilities and boycotts from loyal readers.
This constant “editorial chiding” has been exhausting, yet welcome.
So, how are we dealing with all these conflicting views? By simply reserving the right to disagree.
Since dialogue is always preferable to killing an opinion, we’re preserving this right by encouraging bloggers to rebut each other’s work, and allowing readers to do the same through their comments. Readers have also been offered blog spots to express themselves. We have then taken all of your feedback, cultivated this opinion and used it to shape future debate.
This has perhaps been the most crucial lesson in tolerance that both you and I have learnt this year. No matter how angry or hurt you have been, you have always left that little window open – the window that allows us to put ourselves in your shoes, understand your views and learn from your experiences. Your opinions have already contributed to the solutions of today’s problems. Even in our disagreement, your voice has been central to our progress.
Not only have you, Dawn.com’s audience, perpetuated healthy debate amongst each other, you have also extended the reach of our blogs by sharing them on social media with friends and acquaintances. Some resourceful readers have approached our bloggers to broaden their voices even further across the world, and others have drawn inspiration from our writings and acted to make a change. You have even come from feuding countries and extended your ears to each other. You have united on this platform by merely standing on it.
For every blog published, no matter the stance, minds did change and hearts did not remain apathetic.
Not only have you spoken, dear readers, you have been heard.
Zeresh John is the Blogs Editor at Dawn.com