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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Journalists show lack of interest in reader feedback -- By Christopher Harper, The Washington Times

Here's a dirty little secret many journalists don't want you to know, but you probably realize it already. Most of them couldn't care less what you say about their reports in your comments online

A study published last year in the Newspaper Research Journal estimated only about one-third of 647 reporters in the survey actually read comments about their stories, with small-town journalists more likely to do so than their big-city counterparts.

I tried recently to comment about a column on The New York Times' website, but I found I could not do so. I sent an email to Public Editor Margaret Sullivan about the issue and received a column she wrote last year.
"One of the topics that receives the most questions and comments to the public editor is online commenting itself," she said.

It appears The New York Times allows comments on only 17 articles each day out of dozens posted on the website, with a staff to review the submissions. The moderators reject posts for being "inflammatory," including material considered off topic, name-calling, profanity and spam advertising.

I think the policy is wrong. I can understand why those seeking to moderate don't like those who inflame, but what may inflame the moderators may be good for discussion. What one person may consider off topic may be another way of looking at an issue. Name-calling? I certainly heard a lot of name-calling by politicians during the partial government shutdown. I wish profanity offended people, but it is part of American culture. Spam. Almost everyone ignores it, and most good computer programs discard it. Therefore, it seems to me The New York Times' policy may limit freedom of speech rather than promote it.

Policies vary for discussion boards. The Washington Times, for example, allows posts with a username — as do most other outlets — as long as the individual registers for an online account. The Wall Street Journal, however, requires the use of actual names.

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