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In Online media on March 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

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On the night of Feb. 26, the Stanford women’s basketball team upset the No. 7 Oregon State Beavers. I promise this isn’t a post about that.

Instead, I wanted to mention the way the Portland Oregonian’s Ken Goe covered the game and that his engagement with fans began after he filed his story.

Lately, many news outlets have announced they are doing away with comments. I myself asked only a couple months ago whether 2015 would be the year when we all ditched comments – anonymous or otherwise – that sometimes are more trouble than they are worth.

Count me on the fence. One reason I’m not ready to say goodbye to readers who actually take the time to engage us is that I have been (somewhat) successful when I answer back in the Half Moon Bay Review forum known as Talkabout. …

I was interested to see last week that the Oregonian takes the same approach, but with comments to actual stories. I asked Goe how he feels about the back and forth.

“We are encouraged to ‘engage’ the readers and respond to comments,” he said via email. “I wasn’t enthusiastic at first, but I’ve come to see the value in it.”

Goe noted two takeaways from his involvement on the comments:

“The more comments you get, the more people will check in to see what’s going on,” he said.

“And, you’re right. By involving myself, I’ve noticed that there is less mindless flaming. When somebody does jump in (like that), other commenters sometimes will shush him/her.”

I don’t have any analytics to back it up. Just anecdotal evidence. I think if you put your own name and face behind your words and remain eminently reasonable, others are more likely to follow suit.

Also, did I mention that the Cardinal beat the Beavers the other night?

Clay

 

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