These are the comments. Journalists not welcome.
Until today I’d never before seen journalists being told by readers that they were unwelcome to comment on their own pieces…
The Nate Thayer / Atlantic / Alexis Madrigal saga has generated a lot of really interesting comment, but I spotted something quite extraordinary below-the-line of Paul Carr’s piece about how NSFWCORP aims to be one of the remaining quality sources of journalism by investing in people not page-views.
“My main point is this: it is bad form to engage your readers on a comment thread. You wrote your piece, have had your say and now is the time for commenters to hash it out. By themselves. Absent a mother hen shadowing their thoughts.”
I’ve never seen anything like it. Paul, whilst admitting he is one of the legion of journalists who would prefer not to have comments, described this as “utter horseshit”. He went on to say:
“I’m just as entitled to weigh in as you are. And the idea that I’m supposed to rudely ignore people asking for clarification, or dumbly ignore people misrepresenting my arguments is just ludicrous. God, I hate you.”
Paul later clarified what I think is the only sensible approach journalists can take to reader comments:
“My approach to comments is the same as in real life — if someone comes up to me in a coffee shop and is nice and polite and wants to discuss something I’ve written, I’m delighted to talk. If a total stranger walks up and calls me an idiot, I’m going to respond to that too. But not well.”
Although I’d probably leave off responding to the people who call me an idiot, otherwise I’d be there all day.
And talking of journalists preferring not to have comments open, Barney Ronay has written a great piece for the Guardian’s Sport Blog today about the onslaught of everybody being a pundit. As he puts it:
“Not only is everybody in the world now a football journalist, pretty much everybody in the world appears to be an angry football journalist too.”
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