Well hey WaPo, now you know how we feel. They’re opening up their stories to comments, and finding that keeping it civil is not so easy:
Washingtonpost.com is one of the first major newspaper Web sites to include comments, which are linked to most stories and columns. The intent was to build reader loyalty by making the Web site “more of a conversation than just a lecture. We’ve started to build a community to talk about the news and not just read it,” Brady said. “Every [newspaper] Web site will have them before too long.”
… The Web site draws about 4,600 comments a day. But not all readers are happy about this feature. Philip J. Celeste of Danvers, Mass., wrote: “The Washington Post is an excellent newspaper . . . it has the most informative, current, up-to-the-minute and objective news that is happening in our nation’s capital. I think the comments section after all news stories should be eliminated. They are like an open sewer.”
And yet, this really is the wave of the future. And in changing and adding some features of blogs, the traditional newspapers may well end up doing the job better than the blogs — at least at providing a space for discussion and diversity of views. Moderating the discussion may well become a more important job at these newspapers — and in civic life in general.