Sunday, November 04, 2007

Herald reader comments under scrutiny

A piece appearing today at explains that the Herald is being criticized by the NAACP for racist reader comments that appear on the paper's web site.

At The Herald, ''we monitor the commentary and when either a reader or we see comments that are beyond the bounds of taste, or are unacceptable, we remove them,'' Gyllenhaal said.

In his letter, Curry asked what The Herald plans to do to prevent the posting of such negative comments.

Gyllenhaal said the newspaper takes a number of steps to monitor and shape the tone of comments while still allowing ''the kind of wide-open debate'' that online postings enable.
Gyllenhaal's statement is a lie. Racist and tasteless comments are the norm at Such comments were the subject of a recent letter Herald Watch sent to the Ombudsman in an effort to get him to go on the record on something other than semantics on illegal immigrants and Turkish history.
From: Henry Gomez
Subject: Online comments
Date: October 29, 2007 4:07:01 PM EDT

Dear Mr. Schumacher-Matos,

I was wondering why the Herald continues to tolerate hateful comments on the web site. Take a look at the following:

Is it journalistically wrong for the Herald to moderate comments using some minimum standard?

Perhaps removing the anonymity of the commenters will raise the level of civility and the quality of the discussion.

It's a shame that the comments section on important news stories has become a repository for insults and something to be avoided rather than read.

What are your thoughts?

Henry Louis Gomez

I think the real issue has to do with money. You need to pay someone to sit there and moderate comments. You also need to have a policy that's clear as to what's acceptable and what's not. The Herald has shown an incredible unwillingness to commit to a coherent online strategy, whether it's what their reporters who also run blogs can say or not say or what comments are deemed acceptable. Just another symptom of wholesale dysfunction at 1 Herald Plaza.

H/T: Robert from 26th Parallel

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