Article comments drawing attention on news sites like NewsOK.com
The Poynter Institute, which I was fortunate enough to visit about two weeks ago, posted a story about a trend in article comments on news sites around the country.
The headline caught my attention:
It caught my attention because when we read some of the comments on some of our articles, it makes us cringe, as well.
Note that I said some of the comments on some of the articles.
I am convinced that allowing comments on articles on NewsOK.com is important. It’s the foundation of what we try to accomplish as journalists with a news Web site. We want the community to be engaged with the news that we are covering. We want our audience to have a voice. We want them to participate.
But it becomes difficult to defend some of the commentary that happens on our site as “contributing to the public discourse.”
Some of those same discussions are clearly happening at other places. Take this example from the Poynter article.
Some news organizations have set up formal policies to delineate which stories users can comment on. Others operate on loose guidelines or deal with stories case-by-case.
We actually do both. We have a policy, but we break that policy that if we feel a there is great public demand and greater good to offer community discussion about a story. We’ve opened comments on some articles, and been criticized for it in our own comments. That’s fine – it’s part of the public discussion. But there is reasoning put behind each decision the NewsOK online editors are making — and the audience is at the base of the reasoning.
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