Sunday, November 04, 2007

I Wonder What They're "Worried" About

From Editor & Publisher:

'NYT' Introduces Comments on Web Stories -- But Worries

Quietly, without promoting the move, The New York Times began this week publishing on its Web site readers' comments at the end of certain articles. This is a move The Washington Post and USA Today, and many other newspapers, began long ago.

However, most papers do not "moderate" comments unless a reader flags them. The Times, however, has created a new "comment desk," with the hiring of four part-time staffers, "to screen all reader submissions before posting them, an investment unheard of in today’s depressed newspaper business environment," Public Editor Clark Hoyt reveals today. "The Times has always allowed reader comments on the many blogs it publishes, with those responses screened by the newsroom staff."

Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president for digital operations of The New York Times Company, informs Hoyt, “A pure free-for-all doesn’t, in my opinion, equal good. It can equal bad.”

But Hoyt adds that the experience so far with moderated blogs "suggests what the paper is letting itself in for." He then details some of the unsavory blog postings that have gotten past editors, quoting from racist comments on Mexicans in California and backing a hit on Rudy Giuliani.

Yeah, among other things.

"As The New York Times transforms itself into a multimedia news and information platform — the printed newspaper plus a robust offering breaking news, blogs, interactive graphics, video and more — it is struggling with a vexing problem,." he observes. "How does the august Times, which has long stood for dignified authority, come to terms with the fractious, democratic culture of the Internet, where readers expect to participate but sometimes do so in coarse, bullying and misinformed ways?

NYT readers behaving in "misinformed ways"?

Pot, kettle, conversation - some assembly required.

(link via Hot Air)