I’ve always been fascinated by the small corps of people who seem to spend an enormous share of their days commenting at NPR.org, usually to allege bias of one sort or another. Who are they? Why do they care so much about what NPR does? How do they have so much time to care about what NPR does?
Now I have a new question: What are they going to do now that NPR is banishing comments from its site? On this week’s episode of The Pub, my favorite perennial NPR.org commenter speaks — “Sanpete from Utah” is his handle. Call him Kent.
Also on the show, should your organization follow NPR’s lead in dumping on-site comments in favor of engagement on other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter? Inside Higher Ed v.p. and former NPR social product manager Kate Myers and WDET g.m. Michelle Srbinovich disqus — er, I mean, discuss.
Want the short version of our chat? Srbinovich thinks comments may work better at the station level than at the network, though she’s still not a big fan; Myers doesn’t love comments either, but she says you can’t expect to replace that kind of engagement with social media without making some significant investments; I argue it’s essential for audience reactions to be appended to the content in question, one way or another.
(Here’s the study that Myers cites on the show, about how comments affect audience perceptions.)
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.