Na na na na, I can’t hear you!

If you want a small insight into the trouble the traditional newspaper industry is having in reinventing itself for the digital age, read this head-in-the-sand column by Rem Reider, editor of American Journalism Review.

How to deal with people saying unpleasant things in the space after newspaper stories posted online? Well, don’t allow comments, period. It’s a “no-brainer,” he says.
Yes, a no-brainer if you’re going to be honest about the nature of traditional print journalism: No engagement with readers at all. So, if we’re going to cling to that philosophy, as we go out of business, why not just end all pretenses. Don’t allow story comments at all.
Look, newspapers and online news sites of all kinds, including my own (and see previous post here) are struggling with the issue of abusive anonymous comments.
But unlike the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine’s attempt to provide some nuance to the question this weekend, Reider’s answer is to revert to what, unfortunately, most traditional journalists are most comfortable with … operating in a vacuum, steeped in arrogance and so very out of touch with how technology has empowered the audience.
Don’t use that technology to engage that audience. Instead, Reider argues, pull the plug out of the wall.

About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
This entry was posted in American Journalism Review, Boston Globe, Rem Reider, Story Comments. Bookmark the permalink.

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