PressThink: Transparency at the Post. When Jim Brady decides to shut down the comments at post.blog to prevent even bigger problems we’re going backwards in our ability to have a conversation with the Washington Post. That isn’t good. If the press decides to close itself off because the costs of participating in the new openness are judged to be too high, that is a loss for everyone.
Jay Rosen’s Q&A with Brady, executive editor of the Washington Post’s online news operation, is a fascinating look into how one Big Media organization dealt with the inevitable trouble when it opened up its blog to comments.
I’d like to know if the Post required commenters to provide a valid email address as a bare-bones registration system, which would have been a deterrent to the most flagrant trolling (it’s easier to ban someone in such a circumstance). If the Post allowed anonymous comments, then it was asking for trouble. I’ve asked about this and will let you know what I find out.
But comments are definitely worth having, even when they cause problems. Listening and responding are as important in tomorrow’s journalism as speaking. If we forget that, even bigger trouble lies ahead.