An article this morning on CNN's website provides a case in point. A United Airlines passenger traveling from California to Texas to see his dying mother needed to make a connecting flight. The flight crew informed the pilot, who radioed ahead to the second flight. Not only did the passenger make the connecting flight, but this story was featured very prominently on CNN's website. While it might be difficult to quantify, this wonderful gesture reflects very positively on United. In the very competitive airline industry, which so often is focused on on-time performance, projecting a human face may have done more to win over new customers than comparing performance would ever do.
Letters to the Editor - out of control? While the CNN story in and of itself is refreshing to read, social media can sometimes seem like it's out of control. Letters to the editor in newspapers are perhaps a precursor of modern social media. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental to the fabric of the United States. The one challenge that comes across on the websites of many news organizations, however, is that it is difficult to control the comments that appear. Perhaps this is a decision by CNN and other outlets to let all comments be published. It would seem, however, that by removing inappropriate comments by readers, the value of the letters to the editor would be greater. Even this wonderful story about the airline passenger contains a host of idiotic, sometimes offensive comments. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are intended to encourage the free flow of ideas, whether you agree or disagree with them. Respect for others is a value that should be strongly encouraged. By not taking responsibility to moderate the comments that appear on various media websites, it can turn away readers.