Updating comments on running stories

N.Y.C.
Are related stories the cart before the comment horse (Image via Wikipedia)

I was browsing around the coverage of the postal strike today and came across a story on my local paper (well, local to uni) the LEP. One of the comments caught my eye less for their view on the strike and more for the opening sentence.

We get a comment thread going on one story about this and a new story appears so the comments get lost.

Having spent time listening to Amanda Michel from Propublica yesterday talking about the value of engaging your users in the process it struck me that this is a bit of a problem.

When a story breaks we let people know we have the story via a blog post or twitter alert and look to pull people to our first article. When the canary of twitter sings every looks for the detail.

In many cases these first draft articles are the ones that garner a lot of comment, they are after all the ones we pointed people to.  But when the story develops, that comment on the LEP made me realise, we often leave those comments behind. Worse still, people new to the story miss the depth of discussion and the audience. As journalists we miss out on the clarifications and developments that brings.

Related comments

So maybe there is a need to have some way of flagging related comments and discussions as well as related pages. After all the related pages will often be earlier drafts of the story and aren’t we in a social world where the conversation is just as important?

If anyone is doing this I’d love to know.

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