Editor’s Column: “You learn nothing from life if you think you’re right all the time”

I don’t know who said it, and it really doesn’t matter. We all tend to live in our own little filter bubbles, accepting only input that agrees with our preconceived notions and past experiences. In addition, we’re now deluged with so much information we tend to make snap judgments based on what we think we know instead of listening and researching and making an effort to see both sides of a story.

I’ll use my own industry as an example: A recent poll published by the Columbia Journalism Review said 60 percent of respondents believe reporters are paid by their sources. After I stopped laugh-crying at this foolishness, I wondered what other kinds of crazy things we believe about other businesses.

If you haven’t worked in or managed a restaurant how much do you know about the restaurant business?

I once made a comment about the high cost of healthcare being caused by doctors getting paid too much to a doctor’s wife. She set me straight pretty quick.

A discussion a few weeks back with Meeker Drugs owner Diana Jones enlightened me to how a local pharmacy conducts business.

We could have those conversations with anyone, in any business, and learn something. If you haven’t been personally involved in a particular industry, you probably don’t comprehend its inner workings.

That line of thought came up during public discussion at the end of the commissioners’ meeting Monday about how the energy industry has fallen short in telling their own story. In many cases, that has led to misinformation and misconceptions.

Think about it, those poll respondents who think reporters get paid by their sources had to hear that somewhere, right? And while there probably are a handful of unscrupulous reporters out there who’ve been paid off by a source to write a story a particular way, it’s certainly not 60 percent.

What have we heard or been told about other industries that we’ve assumed is true without ever opening a line of honest communication with someone who actually works in that industry, whatever it might be?

Try this experiment: Think of a particular industry you like to bash and complain about. It might be the high cost of gas or the post office. Then, instead of complaining, go talk to someone who actually works in that industry and ask them why things are the way they are. Talk to them in person, not on social media. Better yet, talk to several people. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s a scary question: how many of our legislators and lawmakers are operating on misleading assumptions as they make decisions that affect us all? Too many, I think.

***

Spring (whatever that means around here) has officially sprung. This year it returned with an unwelcome guest again: allergies. I’ve been fortunate to suffer from few allergies most of my life, but in the last few years, they’ve gotten progressively more annoying.

After my 15th consecutive sneeze Monday night, I looked up the allergy index at pollen.com, thinking, “Nothing is blooming yet, what’s there to be allergic to?” How wrong I was. As it turns out, the allergy index here this week is high, thanks primarily to elm, poplar and juniper trees.

Has anyone sneezed themselves to death?

By Niki Turner | niki@ht1885.com