Thursday, January 03, 2008

Responses to Ombudsman Column

A few responses to Herald Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos' column about hateful reader comments posted to articles at have been published in the paper.

Wednesday, December 26th

In his Dec. 16 column, Looking for ways to tame poisonous words on Web, ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos writes about the difficulty in keeping ugly comments to a minimum on The Miami Herald's website.

When I write a letter or e-mail to the editor, it won't be published if I don't include a legitimate name, address and a daytime phone number. Yet the paper allows anyone to post anonymously to its website. Not only do I have to give up personal information to get published, someone looks through the letters and e-mails to decide if they are worth publishing. On the web, however, one can write anything, and it automatically gets posted.

Why all the hand-wringing when the answer is to impose the same requirements that anyone who sends a letter to the editor has to abide by?

On Sunday December 30th the Herald posted a series of reader responses, most of which backed the idea of registration for commenters.
Thank you for your column about what I have come to call the virtual lynch mob -- the haters given both a forum and a sanctuary by America's newspaper publishers. I thought your suggestions were excellent -- especially since they're the same ones I made on my organization's blog in mid-November, and others, I'm sure, have made before that. . . .

The blog, and the website, deal with one of the topics you singled out as most likely to bring out the haters: child abuse.

e-mailed by Richard Wexler executive director, National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, Alexandria, Va.

A few ''idiots'' ruin it for everyone else; therefore, The Miami Herald should implement required registration, including confirmation of the reader's e-mail address.

-- Posted by: VILJ

Why not start your transparency movement by posting which of your editorial board writers write the Herald opinions and who was for and against the opinion? The Herald has been hiding behind anonymity for a very long time.

-- Posted by: Anonymous

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