Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Lisa Zimmermann

Lisa Zimmermann is the American Press Institute’s first summer fellow. She is also a Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) Master of Arts candidate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining API, Lisa worked as a reporter at The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, New Jersey, and as a neighborsgo editor at The Dallas Morning News in Dallas, Texas. Lisa also served on-site at American Airlines where she reported on employee news for the airline’s internal communications. Lisa’s degree is in journalism from Boston University. At BU, Lisa focused on print journalism while also picking up minors in political science and English.

Read more about API's Summer Fellowship Program.

How to choose a commenting platform for news sites

Comments can provide readers a voice. Comments can provide a space where readers can contribute new information, like sources sparking new stories, investigations and reports. Comments can also, among other benefits, increase website traffic for news organizations. Approximately 70 percent 101 newspaper and online editors/publishers surveyed across the country said they valued comments, according to […]

Where to begin when choosing a commenting platform

The first question should be this: What is the goal your organization hopes to achieve with its commenting section? Do you want to engage your readers? Build a community? Consider the following. First, determine your organization’s goal with its commenting section. Gary Graham, editor of the Spokesman-Review in Washington state, admits that “community engagement is […]

Understanding your options for commenting platforms

I’ve identified four main types of commenting systems: Traditional – threads at the bottom of a story Structured comments – requires an extra structural step to comment Annotated comments – inline threads Stand-alone discussion platforms with user-generated threads Many of these systems incorporate elements of the others. A news organization might have what appears to […]

How to shape the nature of the comments posted on your website

Deciding how a commenting system looks and operates are choices publishers should make with intent. These decisions affect the nature of readers’ and moderators’ experiences and the content of their contributions. Talia Stroud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas – Austin, studies how the media affects our political behaviors and attitudes […]

How to handle anonymity and authenticity in your commenting platform

Have you ever wondered if there is value in commenters identifying themselves? Or do you struggle with verifying the facts and stories your commenters post? How can we authenticate what they say if we don’t know who they are? In the previous section, I highlighted research showing commenters are more civil when commenting on Facebook and […]

How to manage the resources you devote to managing reader comments

Before spending too much money, take some time. Spend the time strategizing, researching, understanding what your audience wants, what you want and how comments will help you deliver this. Can you accomplish this through comments? If you believe so, do you have the time to maintain the system? The time news organizations are spending monitoring […]

Grabbing new readers with a “passion”: 7 good questions with The Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Morning News recently launched an initiative to attract and engage with new audiences by focusing on areas and topics that its readers are passionate about. This initiative took the form of five “insider” online communities that congeal around three “passion areas” and  two geographic locations. So far, the Morning News has recruited more than 50 contributors. […]

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