March 25, 2013 by The Bison Times
“I live here and you are full of the same substance found in the cow pastures,” was one of many graphic comments I found only hours after an article relating to homosexuality was posted on CNN’s website.
As traditional journalism continues to shift online, user interaction has become vitally important. Joe Higgins, writer for The Athens Messenger echoes this by saying, “You have the ability now more than ever to affect change within our industry as we are better able to cater to your needs.”
However, many news organizations have yet to fully embrace user feedback by allowing commenting only on blogs.
An article found on Poynter says journalists, in today’s information driven society, need to focus on creating new content rather than rehashing old ones. Many news sources also do not want their name attached to unrestrained user comments.
This brings rise to an important question of ethics: should comments be managed? The Bison Times along with most media outlets would say yes.
In fact, this serves as another reason allowing comments is less popular among reporter stories. Today’s journalist is much different than journalists of the past. Higgins eludes to this saying, “Gone are the days where ‘reporting’ consisted mostly of covering a story and writing that story. Our jobs are much more in-depth.” Many companies have down-sized staff but super-sized the workload. This change doesn’t allow for each reporter to monitor the comments made on their stories.
There are positives that can come from reporters engaging in the comment section with readers. Often, discussions can get off track. Having the reporter “stir the pot” so to speak can help bring the focus back to the main points of the article.
The rise of Facebook and Twitter in journalism has given reporters an opportunity to reach thousands of interested subjects in seconds.
Sarah Skerik, in an article for the PRnewsire says, “Journalists and bloggers are using these channels to both build audience for their content and publications, and to drive readership for the content they produce and publish.” Many value the followers they have to spread information. Developing relationships by replying to users can become a great way ultimately gain a wider audience.
This video shows how those using a social media platform such as Facebook can gain more user interaction.
Journalism is constantly changing, but one thing is certain: users not only want their information now, but they want to feel like their voice is being heard. Allowing readers to comment on stories or blogs is a no-brainer, but monitoring them is a must.
Let The Bison Times know what you think. Comment on this article so we, as journalists, can find out really what is most important to you: the reader.