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Doug Feaver /WaPo issues defense of comments on their articles

Former Washington Post editor Doug Feaver - mentioned before here - offers "Listening to the Dot-Commenters" (link). While, as before, what he considers "racism" may not actually be what he thinks it is, the article also stands opposed to WaPo reporters like Darryl Fears who didn't want them to have comments at all.

I am writing in defense of the anonymous, unmoderated, often appallingly inaccurate, sometimes profane, frequently off point and occasionally racist reader comments that washingtonpost.com allows to be published at the end of articles and blogs... I have come to think that online comments are a terrific addition to the conversation and that journalists need to take them seriously. Comments provide a forum for readers to complain about what they see as unfairness or inaccuracy in an article (and too often they have a point), to talk to each other (sometimes in an uncivilized manner) and, yes, to bloviate... I am heartened by the fact that [bad comments] do not go unchallenged by readers. In fact, comment strings are often self-correcting and provide informative exchanges. If somebody says something ridiculous, somebody else will challenge it...

Sun, 04/12/2009 - 13:03 · Importance: 4