Newspaper readers write fewer comments
Over time, reader comments will add more perspective on local stories
Dec 28, 2012 | 14 Comments
We’re starting to learn more about people who want to read local news on the Internet. One of the first lessons is that they don’t comment on stories nearly as often as occurred when the online newspaper stories were open to everyone.
In the past, our stories occasionally drew dozens of reader comments – mostly with anonymous display names. There almost always were double-digit displays of comments on multiple stories.
As all can see at the lower-right portion of our pages, there now are far fewer comments following the change that limits reader access to paid newspaper subscribers. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.
We anticipate that with this change, fewer comments will be seen as inappropriate in terms of language, personal attacks, etc. As paid newspaper subscribers, we think online readers will feel and show an extra degree of responsibility toward fellow readers.
We still allow readers to use anonymous display names in posting comments. However, there is less potential for true anonymity since they are paid subscribers to the newspaper. That may change in 2013 when we install programming to allow single-day subscriptions to the website.
Meanwhile, we don’t mind the smaller number of comments. And it’s good to see that in just a few weeks there are about 500 newspaper subscribers registered to use the website – a number that is growing daily.
Over time, reader comments will add more community perspective on the news and commentary articles – perhaps providing opinions that find their way onto the pages of the newspaper.
- Jeb Bladine