Why real estate coverage causes an angry reaction
Jonathan Lansner, the longtime real estate journalist at the Orange County Register, writes about why readers sometimes respond angrily to what he writes about.
Lansner writes, “The product is made to stir passions. And take it from somebody who once covered high school football in western Pennsylvania, you don’t have to be doing long-researched exposes to draw angry responses.
“But the heated response to newspaper stories is no longer a thoughtful rebuttal of ink-stained words. I saw this brewing a decade ago when I started an experiment at the Orange County Register, blogging about local real estate economics.
“In those nascent days of online debate, I marveled at how people would exert tons of time and energy to argue incessantly in the blog’s comment section about the future of the housing market. Of course, my coverage was often the derision of their critiques.
“Yes, my analysis was fair game. Heck, I was stirring the proverbial pot. But the tone of real estate conversation circa 2009 had an anger that was worrisome. It was not disdain tied to the economic downturn. Rather it was what, at the time, I thought was an odd bitterness to anyone who disagreed accompanied by strange conspiracies about what motivated those with opposing forecasts.”
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