Blogs > Tell the Editor

A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tell the Editor isn't about the editor, it's about the readers' comments

Recently, The Morning Journal's parent firm, Journal Register Company, created an advisory board of big league media thinkers.
These board members are helping us newspaper types to avoid extinction in the long run. That means helping us to evolve in the new digital world so we can keep up with our readers' needs for information.
Jeff Jarvis is one of our gurus on the board. In his blog, Buzz Machine, Jarvis talked about dealing with reader comments online. Reader comments are the lifeblood of this new blog of mine, Tell the Editor. My hope is to spark conversation that will produce solutions to improve the community and this news organization.
To that end, here is a link to the Jarvis piece on reader comments. I'm offering it to help give you a better idea of where we are going. And if Jarvis sparks your interest, here's a link to video of the talk he had with all of us Journal Register newspaper editors last week in Philadelphia, after an introduction by the new CEO of Journal Register Company, John Paton.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

I read the Jarvis piece with great interest. I believe he is correct with "being a host". You invite people to your "party" and they can come from far and wide and you never know what they will bring to your gathering. Yesterday I received a comment from Germany ( in German) berating me for showing sharks in a bad light equating them to a negative portrayal of a local politician -

"Why should not every time animals, for example Sharks serve necessary to characterize the negative people?

The shark has no bad traits. The characteristics, which has a shark, are for him only for life. I call that selfishness with Neveau!

Egoism with Neveau! We should aspire. (kdr)"

I welcomed him to my party but there are some that should be told to go down the road to the pub, bar, bierhaus, wine bar or under the bridge with a paper bag....in others words I direct them to another place (more suitable) with their comments :)

March 24, 2010 at 9:43 AM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

The Plain Dealer is facing an ethics question after exposing a person who comments on their blog
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/03/plain_dealer_sparks_ethical_de.html
"Plain Dealer sparks ethical debate by unmasking anonymous Cleveland.com poster"

Since you are now in the blog business how would this blog handle a similar situation ? How will you reasure your readers and those that comment that they do so without fear of retribution in some way ?

March 26, 2010 at 9:18 AM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

I'm not much of one to worry about hypothetical problems. I'd just try to do whatever is right given the circumstances. My standard of "right" includes protecting the real names of people who blog under a screen name.
Ordinary opinions will not result in anyone's identity being exposed.
A poster engaging in criminal behavior online is another matter entirely.
The PD apparently acted on serious suspicions of judicial misconduct, which later proved not to be the case. I really don't want to second-guess their decision because I don't have all the facts and context.

March 26, 2010 at 1:02 PM 
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

I can understand your point. BUT the MJ by entering into the murky waters of the "blog world " and by the mere fact that another "professional print media organization (PD)" ( and the operative word in this is "professional" )who is also " reinventing itself or adding to its consumer base by using the blog format" has now brought to the fore a situation that throws doubt on blogs used by the news industry.

"Comment contributors" will now be now a little leary of what they should contribute to blogs that also earn their living by "news" and investigative reporting. Like it or not Joe Public will assume guilt by association - trust in the media :) ... "Will I end up on the front page because of a comment made?"

It will affect your blog.... has to .... so it isn't hypothetical any longer..... this situation has happened and the ripple effect will effect the "professional media blogs" won't it?

Therefore, you will have to allay the fears of those that comment under a nom de plume- as your main premise of this blog, as far as I can tell, is to engage the opinions and people to comment on the MJ blog and now it will be made more difficult imho. Look at the comment section under that article tells a tale . Loraine - who always signs her name to her thoughts :)

March 26, 2010 at 1:52 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

I thought I did answer the question above when I wrote:

"I'd just try to do whatever is right given the circumstances. My standard of "right" includes protecting the real names of people who blog under a screen name.
Ordinary opinions will not result in anyone's identity being exposed.
A poster engaging in criminal behavior online is another matter entirely."

March 26, 2010 at 2:53 PM 
Anonymous David C said...

You will invite anyone in to your newspaper participation , using editorials that blend a mix of facts, fiction and opininon. As long as numbers are up, that helps your bottom line.
Some of your Our View comments are borderline incendiary, racist, inflammatory, cruel and misguided. All of which attract opinion, but are really just a device for attracting people. Sad that the Journal has become such a money grubbbing courtesan.

March 27, 2010 at 4:29 PM 
Blogger Tom Skoch, Editor, The Morning Journal said...

Gotcha. Please deposit 25 cents on your way out the door.

March 27, 2010 at 4:44 PM 

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