I don’t often do this on my blog, but since several different blogs and news sites have mentioned the Washington Post’s introduction of reader comments on news stories, I thought I would mention that the newspaper I work for in Toronto, the Globe and Mail (www.theglobeandmail.com) has allowed reader comments on every story we publish since last September. It has proven to be an extremely popular feature with readers — so popular that on some contentious news stories we are overwhelmed with hundreds of comments.
We aren’t alone in experimenting with such features. As commenters on the ePolitics post mention, China Daily has had a comment feature for some time, and so has a German newspaper — a recent survey of the industry called the Bivings Report notes that 19 of the U.S. newspapers it surveyed allowed comments on news stories. For awhile now, the BBC has had a feature known as “Have Your Say,” which is turned on for certain stories and includes either moderated comments (in which an editor reviews comments before they are posted) or unmoderated comments (in which readers themselves monitor the comments and flag inappropriate ones for removal).
Like the Post and other newspapers, the Globe is experimenting with blogs and user-generated content as well as comments, and with other ways of allowing our readers to become part of a community. I can’t give any details, but we’ll be rolling out new features along those lines in the months to come. To me, that kind of interactivity is one of the most exciting things to happen to the news media in generations, and I’m happy to be a part of it.