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#Podcast: Building a better comment experience on news sites

August 2nd, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism, Podcast

Just this week the New York Times experimented with a new way to add value to the way comments feature on article pages, with specially selected ‘Reader Perspectives’ brought higher up in the article.

This is part of the Times’s efforts to continue to improve the comment experience for all, and one result is to encourage a greater quality of conversation.

In this week’s podcast we find out more about key strategies taken by a variety of news outlets including tips for growing discussion in the first place, how to encourage a high-quality conversation and a look at the impact of new digital reporting styles on how the comment thread could evolve in the future.

We hear from:

  • Laura Oliver, community manager, the Guardian
  • Marc Lavallee, deputy editor, interactive news, the New York Times
  • Bassey Etim, community manager, the New York Times
  • David Higgerson, digital publishing director, Trinity Mirror, regionals
  • Tom Miller, product strategist, Hearst Magazines UK
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#Tip: Facebook to introduce comment replies and more

By owenwbrown on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By owenwbrown on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Facebook this week announced it would be introducing new features for comments which will, according to a post by journalism programme manager Vadim Lavrusik, enable journalists to “reply directly to comments left on your Page content and start conversation threads”.

Lavrusik says discussions will also be “re-ordered by relevance to viewers” and those considered the most “active and engaging” will also work their way to the top.

According to the Facebook for Journalists post, the new functionality, which users can opt-in to, will be available on pages from 10 July. Lavrusik adds that it will also “be automatically turned on for profiles with more than 10,000 followers”.

Incidentally, Lavrusik will be delivering the keynote speech at news:rewired on Friday 19 April.

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Media release: Financial Times launches A-List commentary section

June 13th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Comment, Editors' pick

The Financial Times has announced the launch of a new section called the A-List, claiming to offer commentary from leaders, policy makers and commentators, on and all global editions of the newspaper, based on issues “at the top of the news agenda”.

Topics will range from business, economics and finance to world politics and diplomacy. The headline commentary will be accompanied by a response from related experts to encourage debate, and readers will be able to participate and comment online.

Read more here…

This follows the launch of Bloomberg View last month, a new editorial page featuring columns and commentary across all of Bloomberg’s platforms, as announced at the end of last year.

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Guardian launches Comment Network on Comment is free

The Guardian today announced the launch of the Guardian Comment Network on Comment is free. The site says it has partnered with a range of websites which they will curate content from and cross-post, in a bid to break down “barriers between us and them”.

We hope to act as curators for the best of this content, while acknowledging that we as editors are not the only ones who can or should decide on the direction of Comment is free on any given day. We already draw on the inspiration and insights of our users through series such as You told us, the People’s panel and Anywhere but Westminster. We want to extend that to the many bloggers out there who are often just as good as Guardian journalists – if not better – at spotting stories and responding quickly and imaginatively to them.

This follows similar developments in content curation across other areas of the site, as outlined by Dan Sabbagh to when he joined the Guardian last year as its new head of media and technology.

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Independent adds attribution to controversial MacKenzie article

A piece in today’s Independent by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, in which he claimed “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper” was bound to stir up some debate.

But the controversy ended up going beyond the comments he made to the publication of the article itself, when MA Magazine Journalism student from City University Harriet Thurley claimed on Twitter that she in fact originally wrote the piece in question.

And here is a link to her feature, published in the university’s alumni magazine XCity last month. The two are indeed very similar. So what happened? As far as understands, the article was submitted by MacKenzie to the Independent’s media editor Ian Burrell, who told today that he was aware the piece had started out as an interview but felt that that it had been “considerably” rewritten by MacKenzie in his own style.

A line has since been added to the article online to say it is “an amended version” of the interview with MacKenzie by Thurley.

We have not yet been able to reach MacKenzie for comment, but Thurley has since tweeted claiming that he was not aware of her missing accreditation.

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Bloomberg View will be ‘consistent with the values of the founder’

December 17th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick

Bloomberg News this week announced plans to launch Bloomberg View – a new editorial page which will feature columns and commentary across all of Bloomberg’s platforms.

In a release Bloomberg said that David Shipley and James Rubin will be joining Bloomberg News as executive editors in January, to lead the new feature.

“I look forward to joining Bloomberg at a time when rational thought and commentary in the media is needed now more than ever before,” Rubin said. “There is an urgent need for ideology-free, empirically-based editorial positions about the pressing issues of our time, and we plan to deliver them.”

In a report by the New York Times Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, said the editorial page will be “consistent with the values and beliefs” of founder Michael Bloomberg, who is also the mayor of New York City.

“I fully expect us in our Bloomberg View always to reflect those values. In fact, I want people to come away from reading the Bloomberg View infused with those beliefs and values.”

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Sky News website closes down discussion boards

Sky News last night closed down its website’s discussion boards claiming that debate on the platform had been reduced to “meaningless abuse”.

In a post Simon Bucks said that although the boards were “very popular” they had been hijacked by a small number of people.

At Sky News we welcome robust debate about the news, but we want it to be of a high standard. I am afraid that too often on the discussion boards threads which started intelligently would degenerate into mindless name calling.

If you want to contribute to the broad debate, you can still post comments on news stories and on blogs. In addition we intend to run more web chats like the ones last week with our correspondents Alex Crawford and Stuart Ramsay and will develop other ways of allowing intelligent debate about current events.

To those who used the discussion forums sensibly and did not abuse them, or other users, I can only apologise. A small number of people have spoiled it for the majority.

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Readership Institute: Rethinking the editorial page online

February 5th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Should the traditional editorial page of a newspaper migrate to a forum set-up online? Rich Gordon reviews the use of new tools to open up the conversation around opinion content.

Full story at this link…

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