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April 15th, 2016

How Winning Three Pulitzers Changed William Snyder’s Career

From William Snyder's Pulitzer Prize-winning story about subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. ©William Snyder

From William Snyder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story about subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. ©William Snyder

In anticipation of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize announcements on Monday, we talked to photographers who have won in the past about how the prize affected their careers. Today, William Snyder talks about his experience as a three-time Pulitzer winner during his tenure as a staff photographer at the Dallas Morning News. In 1989, he shared the prize for Explanatory Journalism with two colleagues. In 1991, he won the Feature Photography prize for his story about children living in subhuman conditions in Romanian orphanages. He shared the 1993 prize for Spot News with colleague Ken Geiger for their coverage of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Snyder also led the Dallas Morning News photo team that won 2006 Breaking News Photography prize for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Snyder is currently chair of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

PDN: What went through your mind the first time you won a Pulitzer?
William Snyder: I was really excited. It’s one of those things you dream of. My little tiny disappointment was that it wasn’t in photography, but that’s just being selfish.

PDN: How did the subsequent wins compare?
WS: The [second] one was for a story I did on Romanian orphans that was near and dear to my heart, that I really worked hard on, and it was all my story. I could die happy. I felt like I accomplished something.

William Snyder, in his "lucky" Pulitzer shirt, celebrates in 2006 with the Dallas Morning News photo team that won the prize for Breaking News Photography. ©Mei-Chun Jau/Dallas Morning News

William Snyder, in his “lucky” Pulitzer shirt, celebrates with the Dallas Morning News photo team that won the 2006 prize for Breaking News Photography. ©Mei-Chun Jau/Dallas Morning News

PDN: Does winning the Pulitzer go to your head–not your head, of course, but a photographer’s head?
WS: On the eve of winning the first one, I was talking to the executive editor. He said to me, “Grace and humility William, after this happens.” I said, “If you’re worried about that, I can’t be any bigger of an asshole than I already am.”

We all know stories that have been great, and photographs that have been fantastic, that haven’t won. Is there luck involved? Are there things that are out of your control that are involved? Absolutely.  What I learned was:  You don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep working, day in and day out.

PDN: Is there a burden to winning?
WS: I’ve heard of people who win once and they’re frozen, because they’re so afraid that everyone’s going to be looking at them to produce something of Pulitzer quality every time they walk out the gate. There’s only a burden if you let there be a burden.

PDN: Did you always dream of winning the Pulitzer? Was that the Holy Grail for you?
WS: It wasn’t the Holy Grail, but it was pretty close. I never won Photographer of the Year in POY. This is the sick thing about me: I feel incomplete because I never won that. That should tell you about me: I was never satisfied. That’s the kind of person I am. [As journalists] we want to do great work, but we want the medals, because the medals live even longer than the great work.

PDN: What do you mean?
WS: There are people who you know as “Pulitzer Prize winner” and you have never seen their work. You’ve never read their book, seen their play, heard their music, but you see that phrase, and you know they’re good.

PDN: Is the Pulitzer as coveted as it used to be, after the decimation of the newspaper business? Does it have the cache that it used to?
WS: I think more so now. [Now] it’s difficult to win for a picture you happen upon. Most Pulitzers now are for involved stories, whether they’re news or features, right? So if you win a Pulitzer now, you’ve put in the time. You’ve done a great story. In an age when many media companies say “good enough is good enough,” the Pulitzer is still the high water mark, the beacon.

PDN: Did anything change for you after you won?
WS: The first one, absolutely not.

PDN: How about the second one?
WS: There were a ton of offers for lectures, workshops and freelance gigs. My boss just said, “Do ‘em.” Also it was the main reason I was accepted as a Michigan Journalism Fellow (now called the Knight-Wallace Fellowships) and why I was chosen as the inaugural James Burke Fellow.

Things really changed after I won the third Pulitzer. My boss and I got along better. There wasn’t this constant conflict. I just wanted to be able to work. That was the best thing about it: Just to be able to do the work, and be supported. From 1993 to 1998, when I stopped shooting, those were the four or five best years of my career because I was supported and listened to. Did I get what I wanted all the time? Absolutely not.

PDN: Why did you give up the shooting?
WS: There was no one reason. I was traveling a lot back then. I was getting burnout, and I had two young boys I wanted to see grow up and spend some time with. I got to the point where I saw nothing on the horizon—no story that I wanted to do–and my boss was pushing me to be an editor.

PDN: What’s your advice to this year’s Pulitzer winners?
WS: Enjoy it, and then go back to work. If you watch the end of Patton [1971 Oscar winner for Best Picture], he’s talking about how in the old days, there’d be this great parade, and the triumphant warrior would come in with the adjutant standing behind [him], holding the golden crown over his head, and whispering in his ear, “All glory is fleeting.” And that’s it: Enjoy it, and then you gotta go back to work.

Related:
How Winning a Pulitzer Changed Deanne Fitzmaurice’s Career

April 6th, 2016

LA Times Photographer Of Reagan Funeral Motorcade Charged After March Arrest

Longtime Los Angeles Times photographer Ricardo DeAratanha has been charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly refusing to cooperate with police during the funeral motorcade of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times.

DeAratanha, 65, was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer, according to the Ventura County district attorney’s office.

The Los Angeles Times reports that DeAratanha was arrested on Wednesday, March 9, less than a mile from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a public viewing was being held for Nancy Reagan. DeAratanha was at the scene covering the funeral for the Times. When police approached him, he was sitting in his car, transmitting photos from his laptop. Simi Valley Police said at the time that officers were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle near the viewing, and that DeAratanha was arrested because he refused the officers’ request to identify himself.

DeAratanha’s attorney, Mark Werksman, says the photographer provided multiple press credentials and gave the officers “no reason” to arrest him, according to the Los Angeles Times. DeAratanha has been a staff photographer at the paper since 1989.

January 28th, 2016

Why Muslim Woman’s Suit Against AP for Hijab Photo Will Probably Fail

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph, shot at a New York City Starbucks,  without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

Fifi Youssef is suing photographer Mark Lennihan and AP for distributing this photograph of her without her permission. ©Mark Lennihan/AP

A Muslim woman has sued Associated Press (AP) and photographer Mark Lennihan for unspecified damages over the unauthorized use her likeness, claiming violation of her civil rights. The case is a legal long shot, but if she wins, wire services and freelance photojournalists—at least in New York state—would have to get the consent of everyone in the photographs they offer for licensing to publishers.

Fifi Youssef filed suit in a New York State court last week, claiming AP and Lennihan violated her rights of publicity under a state law that prohibits the use of anyone’s name, likeness or voice “for advertising purposes or the purposes of trade.”

According to the claim, Youssef was having coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop on December 16, 2015, wearing a hijab, when she was photographed without her knowledge by Lennihan. The picture shows Youssef staring downward at her cell phone.

Two days later, the image appeared for license on AP’s website, listed “as part of AP’s commerce trade,” according to the suit. Then, on December 21, The Washington Post published the photo as an illustration for an op-ed piece titled “As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity.”

“Clearly, the article attacks [Youssef’s] fundamental beliefs,” Youssef’s lawsuit says.

Youssef says in her claim that AP’s “sale” [ie, licensing for fees] of images—including the image of her—amounts to commercial use, in violation of the state law. But she faces an uphill battle.

The focus of New York’s right of publicity law “on advertising and trade means that a use designed to solicit sales of products or services is forbidden,” says Harvard University’s Digital Media Law Project on its website. “But this category of advertising uses is somewhat narrow [and] contains a long list of exceptions, which include protections for professional photographers against suits by their subjects.”

Nancy Wolff, an intellectual property attorney in New York, says the ruling in the case of Foster v. Svenson established “that the First Amendment trumps privacy and that a license or sale does not make a use commercial.” In that case, New York courts rejected arguments that art photographer Arne Svenson was violating New York’s right of publicity law by offering unauthorized photographs of the plaintiffs for sale in an art gallery.

“I have argued many times that the aggregation, display and offering for sale of images is a right under copyright [law] and outside any state right of publicity law,” says Wolff, who is not involved with the Youssef case, though she has done work for AP in the past. “You only look at the end use to determine if the right of publicity is invoked. Any other position would interfere with the distribution and licensing of images [and] with first amendment uses…No book , magazine or art print could ever be sold without the subjects’ consent.”

Such a result, she notes, “would be absurd.”

Significantly, Youssef did not name the end user–The Washington Post–as a defendant in her lawsuit, because a mountain of case law has given news organizations wide berth to publish images of individuals without permission under a “newsworthiness” exception to New York’s right of publicity law.

Related:
Arne Svenson Exonerated on Appeal in Privacy Invasion Case (subscription required)

What Photographers Need to Know about Model Releases

July 13th, 2015

Pulitzer Center Announces $1 Million Fund for Multimedia Journalism Projects

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting has announced the Catalyst Fund, a new initiative that will support “as many as 40” multimedia journalism projects in the next two years with $1 million in grants made to journalists working with major news outlets.

In addition to supporting the production of multimedia reportage, the Fund will also support journalists in their efforts to disseminate projects to students through presentations at schools and via the Pulitzer Center website.

The Fund is supported by donations from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and from individual donors.

“The Pulitzer Center is a leader among a growing field of nonprofit news organizations bringing creative models of production and dissemination to a disrupted news industry,” said Kathy Im, Director of MacArthur Foundation’s Journalism and Media program, in a statement.

The Pulitzer Center says it has already committed Catalyst Fund support to projects that will be published by The New York Times, National Geographic, MSNBC and other outlets.

Journalists interested in applying for Catalyst Fund grants are encouraged to apply through the Pulitzer Center’s grants portal, here: http://www.pulitzercenter.org/grants

Related: Q&A: How to Get Funding From The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

February 23rd, 2015

Ed Kashi, Tim Matsui Win Top Multimedia Prizes at 2015 POYi

From "Syria's Lost Generation," by 2015 POYi Multimedia Photographer of the Year Ed Kashi. ©Ed Kashi

From “Syria’s Lost Generation,” by 2015 POYi Multimedia Photographer of the Year Ed Kashi. ©Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi has won Multimedia Photographer of the Year honors at the 2015 Pictures of the Year International competition for his project called Syria’s Lost Generation, while Tim Matsui won Documentary Project of the Year for The Long Night, a film he produced with MediaStorm about teenage prostitution.

Winners of other categories in POYi’s Visual Editing Division included Katie Falkenberg of the Los Angeles Times, who won first place in the Motion News Story category for a story about a Utah town torn apart by an FBI sting operation; Eugene Richards, winner of the Motion Feature Story prize for his project in the Arkansas delta called Red Ball of Sun Slipping Down; and Lisa Krantz and Jessica Belasco of the San Antonio Express-News, first place winners of the Motion Issue Reporting category for “A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity.”

Earlier this month, during judging for POYi’s Reportage Division, Krantz won the 2015 Community Awareness Award for the obesity project.

Judging for the Visual Editing Division ended Friday. The category included a number of editing awards for magazines and newspapers.  National Geographic magazine took Best Publication honors. The Los Angeles Times won first place for Editing Portfolio-Newspaper, while Time magazine won the top prize for Editing Portfolio-Magazine.

A complete list of the 72nd annual POYi contest winners is available online. Links to galleries of the winning entries are also on the site.

Related:

Daniel Berehulak Wins Reportage Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition
Cameron Spencer Wins POYi Sports Photographer of the Year Honors
PDN Video Pick: A Spotlight on Underage Victims of the Illegal Sex Trade

February 18th, 2015

Should Photogs Disqualified from World Press Be Banned? Org Says No, For Now

In the days since World Press Photo announced that 20 percent of the photographs they considered in the final rounds of the competition were disqualified for manipulation, many in the industry have called for WPP to release the offending images and make their standards more clear. In comments by jurors, WPP administrators and photographers published on the New York Times Lens Blog, 2015 competition jury chair and New York Times director of photography Michelle McNally noted that the manipulations led “many in the jury to feel we were being cheated, that they were being lied to.” World Press Photo jury secretary David Campbell notes that newspaper and wire service photographers get fired when they are caught manipulating news photos: “Narciso Contreras and Miguel Tova have lost their jobs because of manipulations that crossed the one line we can draw.”

These reactions beg the question: If World Press Photo is a reflection of the photojournalism industry, should photographers who attempted to deceive jurors—and the public—be banned from the competition? After all, newspaper and wire services have fired photographers who manipulated images.

According to World Press Photo managing director Lars Boering, the organization is not currently planning to ban any photographers who submitted manipulated images to the competition. “I might discuss that with the board and the team that is organizing the competition,” he told PDN, adding that “a lot” of the disqualified photos were cases of “clumsy” Photoshop use rather than blatant attempts to deceive competition judges.

World Press Photo rules state: “The content of an image must not be altered. Only retouching that conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed.” In her statement on Lens, McNally clarified that the manipulation the jurors disqualified included “removing or adding information to the image, for example, like toning that rendered some parts so black that entire objects disappeared from the frame. The jury—which was flexible about toning, given industry standards — could not accept processing that blatantly added or removed elements of the picture.”

The organization is very aware that manipulation accusations can deal huge blows to the careers of photojournalists, Boering says, which is why they are keeping confidential the names of photographers who were disqualified—despite calls for more transparency. “If people get caught by agencies, then they are thrown out, and I know it’s difficult for these people to get back to work or find other agencies, so that’s a serious thing,” Boering explains. “If an agency makes that decision it’s up to them because that’s their rules. We organize a competition; we care a lot about photojournalism and visual journalism, but…I don’t think we should be the ones that decide on the careers of photographers, and whether they should be ruled out of competitions with others or whether they should lose their job with their agency.”

“We’re not going to put their names out unless we think it’s really severe what they’ve done,” Boering adds. “It might be that we think about talking to them about the way they go about it.”

Boering said WPP had today sent notices to the disqualified photographers presenting their evidence and explaining their decisions. He says the organizations has received one or two responses from photographers accepting the decision.

It’s more important to WPP that this controversy sends a message to photojournalists and the industry, sparks discussion and, hopefully, a resolution, Boering says. “Technology makes a lot of things possible, but it makes it possible to find things…. The technicians that do our research, they’ve showed me several examples of things that you can do and I think it’s amazing.”

Boering says he’s heard from people at agencies and news organizations, and others in the photo industry in the past few days. World Press Photo is planning “several debates” starting on the day of the awards presentation, that he hopes will help the “find common ground with the industry to get it right.”

Related: Mads Nissen Wins World Press Photo of the Year 2014 Prize
AP Cuts Ties with Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image
Photographer Fired by AP Says Decision Was Fair, But Process Wasn’t

February 6th, 2015

Brad Vest Named Newspaper Photographer of the Year at 2015 POYi Competition

From "Last One Standing," a story by Newspaper Photographer of the Year Brad Vest about families living in the Foote Homes housing development in Memphis. ©Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

From “Last One Standing,” a story by Newspaper Photographer of the Year Brad Vest about families living in the Foote Homes housing development in Memphis. ©Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

Brad Vest of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee has won Newspaper Photographer of the Year honors at the 72nd annual Pictures of the Year International competition. Vest’s portfolio stood out for its journalistic and esthetic quality, POYi organizers said in a statement released on Friday evening.

Runners-up for the award were Michael Robinson Chavez of the Los Angeles Times, who won second place; and Lisa Krantz of the San Antonio Express-News, who took third place.

Judging for the POYi competition began at the University of Missouri on February 2, and will continue through February 20. Judging for the News Division categories ends later today.

Winners of other News Division categories so far include Bulent Kilic, who won first place in the Spot News category for his dramatic photograph of an air strike against ISIS militants near the Turkish border; and Alexey Furman, first place winner in the Portrait category for his photograph of a woman who survived the shelling of her home in eastern Ukraine.

Philip Montgomery won first place in the Feature category for an image from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, while Evgeniy Maloletka won top hones in the General News category for a graphic image from the scene of the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine last summer.

Organizers will officially announce the names of all winners after the judging is complete on February 20.

Winners PDN was able to identify of categories judged so far in the News Division include:

Feature: Philip Montgomery (1); Toni Greaves (2); Kevin Frayer (3)
General News: Evgeniy Maloletka (1); Andreas Bardell (2); unidentified* (3)
World Health: Pete Muller (1); unidentified* (2); John Moore (3)
Portrait: Alexey Furman (1); Philip Montgomery (2); Asa Sjöström (3)
Portrait Series: Victoria Will (1); Marcus Trappaud Bjørn (2); Pieter ten Hoopen (3)
Spot News: Bulent Kilic (1); Moises Saman (2); Anastasia Vlasova (3)
Human Conflict: William Daniels (1); Bulent Kilic (2); Andrey Stenin (3)
News Picture Story–Newspaper: unidentified* (1); Marcus Yam (2); Marcus Yam (3)
Issue Reporting Picture Story–Newspaper: Brad Vest (1); Lisa Krantz (2); unidentified (3)
Feature Picture Story–Newspaper: Stiller Ákos (1); Spencer Heaps (2); Mads Nissen (3)
Photographer of the Year–Newspaper: Brad Vest (1); Michael Robinson Chavez (2); Lisa Krantz (3)

Judging for sports category entries began over the weekend, and ends today (Monday). Reportage Division entries will be judged later this week, while Editing Division entries will be judged during the week of February 16.

*Readers: Please help us identify these winners.

December 23rd, 2014

PDNPulse: Top Stories of 2014

As another fascinating year in the world of professional photography comes to a close, we look back on the stories that drew the most interest from PDNPulse readers this year.

From manipulated news photos, to photographers arrested for doing their jobs, to collaborative efforts between photographers and an interview with one of photography’s most influential star makers, these stories capture some of the highs and lows of the photography business today.

1: George Steinmetz Wonders: Was It Worth Getting Arrested for National Geographic Cover Story Photos

2: 2014 Winter Olympics Op-Ed: Everything You’ve Read About Problems for Photographers in Sochi is True

3: PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

4: Photographers Share Intimate Images of Loved Ones for Curated Photo Website

5: AP Severs Ties With Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image
5a: Photographer Fired by AP Says Decision Was Fair, But Process Wasn’t

6: How Much Do Editorial Clients Pay? “Wiki” Gives Names and Fees

7: If that Kim Kardashian Photo Looks Familiar…

8: Calumet Photographic to Liquidate, Closes U.S. Stores

9: Photographer Creates Free iPhone App for His Signature Style

10: Wal-mart Sues Photographer’s Widow Claiming Copyright for Decades of Portraits of Walton Family

11: Suffolk County Pays $200K to Settle News Photographer’s Unlawful Arrest Claim

12: How Should Clients React to Sexual Coercion Allegations Against Terry Richardson?

13: AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus Killed in Afghanistan

14: Cowboy Lifestyle Photographer David Stoecklein Dies, 65

15: Photojournalist Camille Lapage, 26, “Murdered” in Central African Republic

September 24th, 2014

New Forest Service Directive on Still Photos Worries Reporters, First Amendment Activists

Proposed changes to United States Forest Service rules for photographers and videographers have some first amendment groups concerned that journalists could be required to obtain permits and pay up to $1,500 in fees to photograph within national forests, according to a report by The Oregonian.

The Oregonian quotes first amendment groups and politicians who are expressing concern about a vaguely worded directive, which could be interpreted to require special permits for all uses other than breaking news situations. Other news situations would appear to require a permit, The Oregonian says.

According to current land use requirements, special permits are  required for “use of still photographic equipment on National Forest System lands that takes place at a location where members of the public generally are not allowed or where additional administrative costs are likely, or uses models, sets, or props that are not a part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities.”

Special permits are also required currently for the “use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, or any other moving image or audio recording equipment on National Forest System lands that involves the advertisement of a product or service, the creation of a product for sale, or the use of models, actors, sets, or props, but not including activities associated with broadcasting breaking news.”

The proposed directive “would make permanent guidelines for the acceptance and denial for still photography and commercial filming permits in congressionally designated wilderness areas,” according to US government website Federal Register.

The new guidelines for granting a special use permit ask that applicants meet several requirements. Applicants should be promoting wilderness and outdoor activities, be doing work that doesn’t damage the environment or get in the way of the general public, and shouldn’t use vehicles or other machinery, among other requirements.

The Oregonian article stirring up some furor argues that “a reporter who met a biologist, wildlife advocate or whistleblower alleging neglect in any of the nation’s 100 million acres of wilderness would first need special approval to shoot photos or videos even on an iPhone.”

Maybe. The Forest Service’s special use requirements appear to be targeted at commercial photographers, not journalists engaged in legitimate news gathering. But The Oregonian report did make one rather interesting point: The maximum fee for permits is $1500, while the maximum potential fine for violating the requirements is $1000. So yes, it’s potentially cheaper to break the rules and pay the fine.

Those who wish to comment on the proposed directive on still photography and commercial filming permits can do so here.

August 14th, 2014

Philly Paper Swaps Ferguson Riot Photo: Did It Do the Right Thing?

Reading a Philadelphia Magazine report about the decision by editors at the Philadelphia Daily News to change a cover photo in response to some outrage on social media left us wondering:  Did photo editors at the Philadelphia Daily News change their minds because they thought they’d made a mistake? Or did they change their minds to avoid controversy and public outcry?

philly DN covers_555

The Philadelphia Daily News cover in question (above, left) featured a photo from Ferguson, Missouri that showed a protestor about to hurl a burning Molotov cocktail gas canister at police. Protests began in Ferguson over the weekend, after police shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. The protests began peacefully, and have remained mostly peaceful, but some violence and looting have erupted, and police have been widely criticized for their iron-fisted and highly militarized response to all protestors.

Against that backdrop, the Daily News published a cover photo of a protestor with the Molotov cocktail burning canister over the headline, “Hell Breaks Loose.” The photo drew immediate and harsh criticism on Twitter: Readers said the image could be taken to suggest that the (mostly white) police response was justified because the (mostly black) protestors were being so violent. In response the Daily News put out another edition of the paper with a different photo.

The second cover photo shows a distraught-looking female protestor, holding up a sign demanding answers from police about the shooting of Michael Brown. Police in riot gear can be seen lined up behind the protestor. The Daily News did not change the headline.

And that leads to some larger questions about photo editing in the social media age: Should editors show deference to the instant opinions on Twittering readers, on the theory that input from the public leads to more informed picture choices? Or does deference to the instant opinions on social media undermine photo editors by encouraging readers to constantly demand changes and retractions on coverage of controversial or sensitive topics?

Philadelphia Magazine published Tweets from Daily News readers, followed by a Tweet from a Daily News senior writer who wrote, “Based on reader reaction we’re changing our front page image — so we actually do listen.” That was followed by a Tweet from Daily News assistant city editor David Lee Preston that said: “Big takeaway from tonight should be that a bunch of pros with hearts & souls inhabit this newsroom.”

But it remains unclear why the Daily News changed the cover photo: Did they think they’d made a mistake? Or were they simply bowing to pressure from some angry readers?

Regardless of their motives, we throw open the floor to PDN readers: Did the Daily News make a mistake publishing the Molotov cocktail-throwing protestor? Should the paper have changed the cover photo? Should photo editors let social media reaction influence their decisions, and if so, to what extent?

Note: Earlier version of this story described the burning object in the protester’s hand as a “Molotov cocktail.” Readers noted it was a burning gas canister. We changed it.  In this case, we listened to readers on social media, too.