Where Arts Journalism Is Right Now « PREV | NEXT »: A New Kindle For Newspapers?

May 4, 2009

The Comment Problem (Old Style)

It took newspapers a while to figure out that allowing reader comments on stories was a good idea. Problem was/is: most reader comment sections in newspapers are fetid pools incubating the lowest common denominator. Now news organizations tout their "interactivity" because readers can comment. Problem is, most haven't figured out ways to curate comments in ways that make meaningful contributions to the story. And interactivity doesn't mean the up/down kinds of conversations newspapers think they are. Here's a story about newspaper comments framed in the traditional newspaper mindset:

Comments are a tricky proposition for newspapers, which must be vigilant about their abuses. But as they struggle to hold on to readers and find ways to engage them, online comments have become a bright spot, helping them build new, stronger relationships with users.

The added comments keep readers on the Web sites longer and create engaged communities, which can turn into more money-making opportunities through increased advertising, said Steve Semelsberger, senior vice president and general manager of Pluck, the company that provides social-media tools to 250 newspapers, including USA Today, the Washington Post and The Chronicle.

He said comments can boost page views by 5 to 15 percent and can serve as a starting point for social-media interaction on a news site.

"Comments are both an offensive and defense move," he said. "You have to do it to be a relevant conversational Web property, and you can also make money off it."

May 4, 2009 8:31 PM | | Comments (1)


Honestly, I find it frustrating I can't comment on any time/dated content I find online. Any news/journal/feature without a comments form just feels so 90s to me.

Leave a comment


Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value. ARTicles is edited by Laura Collins-Hughes. To contact her, click here.

    ARTicles Bloggers Meet our bloggers: Sasha Anawalt, MJ Andersen, Alicia Anstead, Laura Bleiberg, Larry Blumenfeld, Jeanne Carstensen, Robert Christgau, Laura Collins-Hughes, Thomas Conner, Lily Tung Crystal, Richard Goldstein, Patti Hartigan, Glenn Kenny, Wendy Lesser, Ruth Lopez, Nancy Malitz, Douglas McLennan, Tom Moon, Abe Peck, Peter Plagens, John Rockwell, Werner Trieschmann, Lesley Valdes and Douglas Wolk. more

    NAJP NAJP is America's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of arts and cultural journalism. The NAJP has produced research, publications and discussions and works to bring together journalists, artists, news executives, cultural organization administrators, funders and others concerned with arts and culture in America today. more

    Join NAJP Join America's largest organization of arts journalists. Here's how more

see all archives

Contact: articles@najp.org

Recent Comments