Social media have made it easier than ever for journalists to engage their readers in conversation. They’ve also changed the way we think about other, “nonsocial” media.
Maybe that’s why many journalists have given up on monitoring our comment sections. The philosophical justification goes something like this: Journalists can’t justifiably restrict the free speech of their readers while relying on it for their work. The practical argument is more pessimistic: Resources are limited now more than ever, and journalists can’t afford to invest in comment sections without guaranteed returns.
The alternative model has been popularized by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who blogs at The Atlantic. There, he gives his blog away to his readers several times a week (“It’s yours…”), but not before insisting that they live up to a civil standard. Even so, these 13-character posts routinely attract hundreds of insightful comments. Coates also maintains a book club. He crowd-sources stories. Read more