Posts Tagged ‘commenting’

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Comments on News Media Sites

January 14, 2010

My professor in Critical Writing used to say that good books have their  true impact when you discuss them. I believe it applies to any writing, idea and point of view. History and our live experiences have undeniably shown that monologues have never gotten any of us anywhere happy. Think about any dictatorship or an argument where you didn’t feel safe to express your opinion.

The development of technology has made it possible to turn written pieces alive,  make an idea into a dialogue. Possibility to leave comments, share content has provided for a two-way communication, which in turn, puts  democracy into action.

Giving the readers an opportunity  to have their say regarding a news piece makes a perfect sense. At the end of the day, news is for public and we as reporters should be interested in feedback. Commenting feature also boosts traffic, so it is eventually good for the business, too.

Challenges

Comments from concerned, curious and active  readers can really improve the story, provide for a follow-up investigation, open a new angle. On the other hand, some may use comments in provocative measures.

Obscenities and ethical and racial slurs can hardly ever be avoided. Just like in a real life, yet much worse online. It has been proven that lying and insulting is a lot easier online than in real life, when you actually look someones in the eyes.

Solutions

News organizations have come up with various antidotes to undesired and insulting comments by the use of customizable filters for specific words and user names. Moderation of comments by a group of editors is yet another way to make sure the dialogue is civilized. Wall Street Journal, ArmeniaNow.com and many other news providers require registration with valid e-mail addressees and only after verification do they allow users to leave comments.

Ethical Impediments

Freedom is also a responsibility and should not be confused with an uncontrollable flow of generally accepted insults. Disagreements and criticism should be encouraged however the importance of  civilized and equal dialogue  should not be undermined.

Another professor on mine, Gyurginian,  used to say that there is a little voice of wisdom inside of each of us  which gets especially activated when we send an order to our brain to write! For as long as we write, encourage others to write and  engage into a civilized dialogue comments can only be constructive.