Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Why are digital newsrooms unionizing now? “This generation is tired of hearing that this industry requires martyrdom”
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 2, 2015, 12:34 p.m.
Audience & Social

News organizations must treat reader comments with the same level of consideration that they treat their own stories, New York Times community editor Bassey Etim said today speaking on a panel at this year’s Computation + Journalism Symposium at Columbia University.

“We have to treat comments as content,” Etim said. “We can’t cede the social world to large companies.”

Etim, speaking on a panel about comment moderation and community building, discussed the Times’ attitude toward commenters and shared the results of a Times survey that asked commenters why they comment:

Only 5 percent of Times commenters said they comment on stories to actually communicate with other, and Etim said that most readers prefer the comments that Times editors choose to highlight. News organizations, he said, need to make building community around news more of a priority. (Though, of course, that’s easy for an editor from the Times to say when, unlike most news organizations, it has a full-time staff dedicated to moderating comments.)

The symposium is sponsored by Columbia’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and it continues through Saturday. If you’re not in New York, you can follow along on Twitter using #CJ2015 or you can watch a livestream, which we’ve embedded below.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Why are digital newsrooms unionizing now? “This generation is tired of hearing that this industry requires martyrdom”
“These are professional-class jobs paying working-class wages, and these people have working-class worries about being downsized, laid off, cast aside in a market that is really stripped down.”
The New Humanitarian (no longer an acronymed UN agency) wants to move humanitarian crisis journalism beyond its wonky, depressing roots
“It’s one thing to have been an internal information center for an international NGO. It’s another thing to become a full newsroom, and an independent newsroom at that — it’s not a switch you turn on and off.”
Research from Canada suggests journalists’ creed can withstand government support
Social psychologists have demonstrated a significant link between people’s behavior, their values, and the norms of their milieu, and that they feel rewarded when they act consistently with their beliefs.