Monday, March 28, 2011

Comments become news

One of the troubling aspects of the "new" journalism to me is the idea that the comments on a story are as important as the story itself. It appears that when a story receives many - or outrageous - comments that newspapers believe that becomes news. At my old paper they repost an item on MLive.com that deals just with the comments. In a recent case a story about the increase in the African-American population in Swartz Creek suddenly required a repost when commenters turned the story into a chance to recycle racist stereotypes in the comment thread. You can see what I am talking about here. (Link no longer works - April 14, 2011) Some of the comments on MLive.com were taken down but they remain at this site - at least for now. Let me know if they go dark and I remove the link. To see all the comments click on the "here" link at the bottom of the item above.

6 comments:

A2Politico said...

They need the comments to generate page views, right?

Pendragon said...

A2Politico: Right. We're being told to do this as much as possible. It's all about the page views now.

A2Politico said...

Pendragon, yes. We're being enticed to post as many inane, pedantic, bear baiting comments as possible. It's as close to vanity publishing as an individual can get without the mess and fuss of writing a bad book.

Pendragon said...

But free!

geewhy said...

I'm continually amazed at the sheer garbage that is allowed on the mlive comment section. Outright racism seems to survive for days before being removed. And the stuff that stays up is often so ridiculous that I pray most of it is a joke, but I doubt it. If that's what's going to save newspapers, maybe we should just let them die.

elfaygo said...

The link no longer works.