Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

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.

A list of questions to ask and best practices for news organizations seeking return on investment for the commenting platforms they provide.

Approximately 70 percent 101 newspaper and online editors/publishers surveyed across the country said they valued comments, according to a recent Associated Press Media Editors survey. That doesn’t mean comments are easy. In his letter to readers announcing The Chicago Sun Times’ temporary suspension of comments, Managing Editor Craig Newman captures the paradox.

“The world of Internet commenting offers a marvelous opportunity for discussion and the exchange of ideas,” wrote Craig Newman. “But as anyone who has ever ventured into a comment thread can attest, these forums too often turn into a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.”

Recently there has been more movement to improve systems for commenting and reader contributions, such as The Knight Foundation’s investment of $3.89 million to help The New York Times, The Washington Post and Mozilla create an open-source community engagement platform. And there have been many calls to turn off comments.

As The American Press Institute’s first Summer Fellow, I examined these deliberations and took a closer look at what types of comment sections news organizations are using, and what, if any, value they are adding to news organizations’ overarching strategies. I reviewed academic and industry literature, spoke with industry managers and university researchers and conducted a small poll of news organizations across the country. The result is a list of questions to ask and best practices for news organizations seeking return on investment for the commenting platforms they provide.

After researching for two months, I’ve identified these five problems news organizations struggle with regarding their commenting systems.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But for the specific problems within these five challenge areas, I’ve identified key questions, considerations and links to further reading for evaluating what commenting strategy works best for you.

  • Tamim

    It’s in reality market of great info sharing by you . Oh My
    God Noida Expressway

  • Tamim

    It’s
    on the reality market of great info sharing with you.
    http://www.supertech-hues.in/

  • Tamim

    Quite admired, those articles are unprecedented! You’re
    conferring some phenomenal in gatherings about the area promote on this web
    diary Supertech tones division 68. Supertech
    Hues Gurgaon

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

Featured topics

Go deeper on…

Dive deep on everything we produce about these key topics.

Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.