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Going viral with news
There’s no doubt controversy is good for news.
After publication deadline last week, the Central Kitsap Reporter received a Letter to the Editor from a Poulsbo resident who was taking aim at a band that performed at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede.
According to the letter writer, the band, Hell’s Belles, is a satanic group and the letter writer condemned the fair for hosting such entertainment using public funds. She said as a Christian, the band and a photograph of a member “flashing the sign of the devil” deeply offended her. Ultimately, she expressed an opinion about her faith.
Her letter was posted on both the Central Kitsap Reporter and the Bremerton Patriot websites. Within hours, there were more than a hundred comments about it, and it had been shared on Facebook more than 200 times.
To date, there are more than 400 comments and the letter has been shared and “Liked” more than 3,000 times on Facebook.
As a newspaper, it was not our intention to cause controversy. Rather, as with any letter we receive, we verify it was written by the person whose name is signed to the letter, and then we share it with our readers, online and in print, as a matter of offering others’ opinions on timely topics.
Some who posted comments praised the letter writer for standing up for what she believes in. Others took her to task for not understanding Rock’n’Roll, including the hand gesture that was criticized.
Still, others said they personally knew members of the band and knew that they are great women, just sharing their musical talents.
Some who commented took us on, saying we were off-base for posting the letter, or questioned its authenticity.
Regardless of what side you align with, the letter did what it was supposed to do. It engaged the community in a hearty discussion and debate. It gave readers a forum in which to express their views.
While some comments, on both sides, may have been mean-spirited, opinions were shared. Voices were heard. Knowledge was gained.
Overall, the fair was an enjoyable one with many entertainment options for people of all ages and musical tastes.
And in the end, the letter gave us the opportunity to think about how to express our opinions and how social media has influenced the spread of news.
We will continue to invite readers to send us letters to the editor on all kinds of issues that impact our communities.