Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Value of a Comment
Erica Westley firstname.lastname@example.org
Even on the most creditable new sites, I think reader
commenters can be a huge distraction to the mass public and occasionally take
the attention away from the purpose of the story. It is almost hard not to notice when someone
comments something ridiculous or negative on a news site, that cause great
amount of user interaction. Justin Ellis’“What happened after 7 news sites got rid of reader comments” states how
many of well known news sites decided to not give the public the right to
comment. This right was not taken away just because of the negativity, but also
for the issue these organizations had with monitoring the comments and even
some legal issues that arose from various statements.
As the mass public its understandable to be upset that you
don’t have the right to share your opinion on news sites, a tradition that has
been practiced for years, but something must change. It is neither productive
nor informing to the mass public by having unethical and unintelligent comments
being made in the readers’ section. How to go about this is actually, in my
opinion, quite difficult.
The New York Times’ CommentQ&A a section discusses some of the procedures in order to try and ensure the
reader’s comments are as ethical as possible. Although this is a good step to
try to take it does not necessarily ensure that you wont get ridiculous
comments.A news organization could try
to regulate comments, but this could be tricky due to the fact one could argue
biasedness and the lack of authenticity.Since there are also millions of people on websites throughout the day,
it could be very costly and time consuming to hire a team that specifically
would be responsible to regulate these comments.
Another idea is to make sure the commenter is known, their
name and possibly other information about them to give them more of an
identity. I think the anonymous aspect of some commenters give them more
courage to comment bolder opinions. Although some people are passionate about
what their saying and it can come off as just plain negativity, some commenters
write ignorant things just out of pure entertainment. Krystal D’Costa’s “Don’t read the comments! (Why do we read theonline comments when we know they’ll be bad?)” says, “There
is also an entertainment factor to watching people make spectacles of
themselves as they doggedly support erroneous facts. It gives us a chance to
feel superior. The catch is of course we don't know if the person is serious—whether
they actually believe what they're saying or are doing it to get an intentional
rise from the audience”.
Although it might be irritating for people that simply just
want to have a civil and intelligent conversation with other website viewers, I
think the best decision that could be made with having reader comment problems
is to disable them. At least for a while. The consequence of getting the right
to comment taken away, may give time for people to think about what they are
writing before they post it for the all the Internet world to see.