There’s an interesting post by the Guardian’s Martin Belam, on his blog currybet.net, looking at why certain articles cause more passionate comments than others.
He says newspapers need to be careful to make their tone clear. If it is a sarcastic comment, don’t place it in generic news coverage, otherwise you are likely to cause “disconnect between reader expectation and the article, voiced as frustration in the comments”.
He says news websites are always going to be prone to conflicts in opinion:
One of the key things to understand when you think about community interaction on a news website is that online communities generally form around niche interests in a TV show, a band, a film, a hobby or a game. “News” is not a niche interest in itself, and so newspaper websites tend to end up with a sprawling mass of different communities of interest, stumbling across each other whenever their interests happen to collide.
- Currybet.net: Journalists in the comment box
- #jpod – How to engage a subscriber community: Lessons from the Times and Financial Times
- Currybet.net: Lessons on handling an internet brand crisis from Jan Moir
- Currybet.net: Phil Spector Twitter hoax proof of ‘online honesty gap’ between bloggers and newspapers
- Information Architects’ Ning network event sells out in ten minutes