Why opinions matter
It seems like every month, more and more publishers are slamming the dialogue doors on their digital properties, blaming trolls, spam and the costs of comment moderation as reasons for the lockout. Second only to the digital ad debris they inflict upon their readers, I consider this to be the biggest mistake media executives have made in their attempts to transition to digital and engage with today’s constantly-connected news consumer.
There was an engaging discussion on this very topic at the recent INMA Mobile Strategies Conference, where I was questioned on my assertion of the foregoing. When the moderator asked the audience about the love of the industry for the user comments, the first response was short and blunt “We hate comments.”
Too many people in the publishing industry still hold on to the myopic myth that news should be a monologue. In fact, according to a recent study, 86% of news reporters in the US believe that citizens should not be allowed to contribute to the news.
And yet, research has shown that UserGenerated Content (UGC) is trusted 50% more by millennials than information from other media sources, including newspapers and magazines. Clearly there is a huge disconnect between some publishers and the public they serve.
News needs to be audiencecentric, which means, among other things, ensuring that your content is interactive, that consumers can play with it, can contribute to it, can share it, obviously. It’s not a monologue; it’s a dialogue to ensure that the experience allows for readers to interact with other audience members.”
John Stackhouse former editor-in- chief of The Globe and Mail