Nieman Foundation at Harvard
What publishers around the world learned by sharing their climate change coverage with each other
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 23, 2013, 2:53 p.m.

The New York Times gave us not one but two stories this weekend that lead with a lamentation over the state of Internet commenting. “The most obnoxious development of the Web, the wild back alleys where people sound their acid yawps,” wrote Michael Erard on Friday. “The most slimy and vitriolic stuff you could imagine, places where people snipe, jeer and behave like a frenzied mob,” said Nick Bilton on Sunday.

Erard’s piece provides a history of online commenting, from Marc Andreesen’s dreams of an annotated web to Fray, an early innovator in audience feedback, to Open Diary, one of the first virtual journaling projects. He concludes with a call to arms for annotation:

It’s a fascinating alternative-history proposition: would a world of annotations, rather than comments, inspired in part by Jacques Derrida, have set the Web on a different course? Social media might look very different; you can easily imagine an alternate version of Facebook and Twitter made up of people who regularly annotate certain sites across the Web. In this version of the Web, people would be writing on the worldwide wall of history, not scrawling in little spaces under siloed bits of content. But maybe there, too, they’d never figure out what they were supposed to be writing together, except to assert that everything they individually believe is true. America, Allen Ginsberg might have said in his sarcastic poem of the same name: Your caps lock is on.

And on Sunday, Bilton wrote a Bits blog post about the latest moves for Gawker’s Kinja:

On Monday, Mr. Denton is set to announce updates to Kinja, a Web site his company has been building over the last few years. Kinja flips on its head the idea of comments and conversation below a story on Gawker Media’s Web sites, including Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Jezebel, which collectively have more than 36 million unique visitors a month…

While Mr. Denton may be thinking in page views first and truth-in-journalism second, it seems that both could profit.
“There are scandals in companies, local governments and in towns too small to have a newspaper,” he said. Kinja will give people a voice on Gawker to “help bring transparency to even the murkiest corners of corporations and government,” he said.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
What publishers around the world learned by sharing their climate change coverage with each other
For the better part of this year, news organizations in the Climate Publishers Network have been republishing each other’s climate change stories in order to expand their coverage of the issue.
Hot Pod: Is “Why doesn’t audio go viral?” the wrong question to ask?
“What Rolltape represents to me is an attempt to carve out a whole new digital space that requests a completely different kind of social interaction: sincerely, thoughtfully, slowly.”
“Why not be all the way in?” How publishers are using Facebook Instant Articles
“If we end up making more money as a publisher, that’s fantastic. I don’t think that’s going to be an afterthought or byproduct; I think there is a way to win from the business perspective.”
What to read next
How one blog helped spark The New York Times’ digital evolution
“I certainly had editors tell me that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Bird Week. But that was the best part of City Room…We were like unsupervised children.”
572News outlets left and right (and up, down, and center) are embracing virtual reality technology
Among those experimenting is The Wall Street Journal, which plans to open source its 360-degree mobile video and VR technology and hopes to turn VR into more of a mainstay of its storytelling.
502Podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like blogging circa 2004: exciting, evolving, and trouble for incumbents
The same trends we saw a decade ago — professionalization on one hand, platformization on the other — sure seem to be playing out again.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Global Voices
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Detroit Free Press and Detroit News
Davis Wiki
The Orange County Register
New Jersey Newsroom
Al Jazeera