The misconception of online comment threads: content and control on local newspaper websites.

CANTER, Lily (2013). The misconception of online comment threads: content and control on local newspaper websites. Journalism Practice, 7 (5), 604-619.

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Web 2.0 has opened the gates to journalism with online audiences increasingly participating in the production, dissemination and response processes of news. Comment threads in particular have grown exponentially in recent years as readers have embraced the opportunity to bypass the Letters’ Editor and publish their opinion directly to a newspaper website. This rise in participatory journalism has led to new challenges for journalists as they have strived to negotiate the often murky waters of user generated content. To date research in this field has been mostly limited to national and international news websites despite local news providers having a close connection and engagement with their communities. This paper therefore seeks to partially fulfil this gap by analysing the content of comment threads on two British local newspaper websites via a content analysis, whilst also exploring the experiences of journalists via news room observation and interviews. A contradictory picture emerges whereby journalists accept with some reluctance that comment threads play a democratic function but one which is potentially damaging to the brand and resource intensive. This is juxtaposed by more positive findings that reveal buoyant levels of interactivity between readers in comment threads together with a thirst for engagement in public affairs.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First published online: 08 Nov 2012
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 604-619
Depositing User: Lily Canter
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2013 14:26
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 19:45

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