Blog comments: terribly interesting or just plain terrible?

In a lecture last week Rory Cellan-Jones spoke about blogging for the BBC. The BBC has been mentioned a lot in the online community recently as journalists Andrew Marr and Nick Robinson have both famously said that they do not read any of the comments on their articles as they are invaluable.

The BBC has been criticised for it’s online snobbery, but Cellan-Jones  explains their position. He cited that the most read story on the BBC website is ‘Man Marries Goat‘ and the most commented on story is the ‘9/11 Conspiracy Theories’ these results suggest that the BBC readers may not always be interested in the most news worthy stories and therefore may not be informed enough to comment.

Originally uploaded by Tambako the Jaguar

I remember for a week at my old office the most read story on the BBC news website was ‘Great tits cope well warming‘. It was an ornithological article, but obviously the title, had a possible double meaning and was too intriguing for some. There is even a website called speak you’re branes which shows the most hilarious, ridiculous and sometimes worrying comments from blogs.

However despite the fact that there are many harmful, offensive and uninformed comments on blogs, I still believe that many comments are of value and can create an interesting discussion around a particular niche. To not read any comments on the basis of a few (or even of a majority of) ignorant comments is to deny the conversation which has become available to journalists since the arrival of the internet. As a result journalism cannot fully embrace and move forward with technology.


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