At the PBS NewsHour, we get a lot of people writing in to share their thoughts on the show. Sometimes they tell us how much a particular segment means to them, or how much they learned. Sometimes they are more critical, expressing disapproval on a particular segment (or guest) or the way we reported on it. Either way, we always appreciate the feedback.
Every now and then, though, we get a message that is just a little bit different from all the others. That was the case with this message, a poem we received a couple weeks ago from from viewer Christopher Armitage, called “On Watching the PBS Nightly Newshour”:
Judy and Gwen, complementary pair,
guide us smoothly as they come on air
bringing the day’s news, tale sad to tell:
Assad and ISIL make Syria hell
and much of Africa runs it close;
Afghanistan proves a lost cause —
the Taliban are sneaking back,
and Iraq’s still writhing on the rack.
At North and South Poles ice is melting
so it is in vain that bears go sealing.
Power companies plot rate increases
and bank executives scheme to fleece us.
O brave new world with Facebook and Twitter,
what’s the cure to make the news less bitter?
The e-mail began circling around the staff and finally ended up on Judy Woodruff’s desk. She loved it, and crafted this response:
Dear Professor Armitage:
Seldom do we open our viewer mail
And find such an aptly-worded tale.
I clearly don’t have a way with verse
So I’ll simply keep this terse
And say: your poem has made us smarter
And it will spur us on to work even harder!
So please, continue to send us your compliments, your complaints, and even your more imaginative messages. We’ll continue reading.