Leaders — Political and Editorial — Need to Work the Network

Written by Ryan Thornburg November 26, 2008 2:53 pm EST No comments

The News & Observer in Raleigh today picked up an op-ed I wrote about the need for winning political candidates to follow through on their gestures of online community connectivity. (Hat tip to WCHL for the idea…)

But this challenge isn’t unique to political leaders, it’s also one that journalists must meet and a gesture on which they are following through even less.

Hooked on the promise of the free advertising inventory generated by online comments, more and more newspaper Web sites are deploying  some type of online discussion technology.  What they aren’t deploying is the kind of human  resources that are needed to foster and develop online conversations. Why do most comments on news articles follow Godwin’s Law? Because there is little or no authentic conversational leaders. There is no human being making connections between people and ideas and, um, fact.

Just look at this recent survey of online journalists in North Carolina — online community management ranked as the skill that these editorial staffers said was least important to their jobs.

Here are my quick thoughts on how news organizations should begin to approach online comments.

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One Pager: Building Community Online

Written by Ryan Thornburg May 22, 2008 2:32 pm EDT No comments

Several participants from the N.C. Newspaper Academy earlier this month in Chapel Hill wanted to know more about dealing with comments on articles. At their request I’ve created another in my series of simple one-page “how to’s” of online journalism.

The other One Page guides from this series can be found here.

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