Saturday | Sept. 27 | Got news, or a question?

Can’t find the right spot for your comment? Put it here, in this open post. Real Time Comments: parked here, 24/7. (Earlier editions.)

25 Responses to “Saturday | Sept. 27 | Got news, or a question?”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Please write a comment. You’ll be glad you did!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Several black men were arrested in connection with a violent crime spree in Tucson. Check out the kinds of comments allowed to live at the Citizen:

    “”LOOK MAMA !”





    “Any bets they’re Katrina evacuees that never left because there was more to steal here then at home???????????”

  3. Anonymous Says:

    How about the Hispanic would-be bank robbers:

    “Did you nitice they are latinos, that great race all the southwest rages about.

    Typical scum with the morals of our southern neighbors.”

    How about a story on the university’s women’s resource center and its leader:

    “Will this one of the resources at this center be a laundry?
    Iron my shirt.”

    “Horton; stop pimping this bitch. Tomsen; F*** You.”

    Way to go, Tucson.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    So Gannett’s going broke and is planning to unload papers, huh?
    Then why did the company send a team of potential buyers to tour the Daytona Beach News-Journal late last week?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I split duties between print editing, writing and moderating online comments.

    I sometimes delete 50 or more posts like those above every day. The thing that disappoints me is that I’m the only one who does this job regularly, so these things stay up if they are posted overnight or on weekends unless someone reports them as abuse (and they still sit until I get there). Chronically bad posters eventually come to my attention, and then I go clean up their whole history or ban their profile. But they eventually figure it out and come back in another name. When you do this for awhile, it’s not hard to ID the m/o.

    The problem is that moderating comments is the lowest priority for everyone to whom it’s assigned. I put in a lot of unpaid overtime hours to get the necessary time to moderate comments to a degree that satisfies my ethics. It should get top priority, because offensive comments reflect on the newspaper in the public’s eye. People who I know outside the paper often complain about what they’ve read in comments.

    Another facet is that the terms of service are fairly nebulous, so what’s hate speech to one moderator may be a harmless joke to another.

    A sticky wicket is that all comments are loosely labeled opinion, but the reality is that anonymous people post purported facts that people tend to accept as truth because they read it at a newspaper’s website, as extensions on the professional news copy. I think there’s an expectation the writers and editors of those stories read them and would correct that unverified info if it is wrong. Should we delete those we know are false? I know we have posters who use our site deliberately to plant lies in the gossip mill. Do we ignore that because, technically, all comments are opinion and the discord such posts may cause boosts our “hits”? What if no one does come on to self correct misinformation?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    The Gannett websites are morphing into online cesspools.

    With the idiotic, inappropriate comments left by cowardly posters, ridiculous content in photo galleries, inane polls, etc. – it all just seems to be spiralling out of control.

    We are posting lingerie photos on our site just to get page views for cryin’ out loud!

    What’s next? wet t-shirt contests and jello wrestling?

    We have GOT TO devote more resources to the products and get back to providing QUALITY information and content to our readers if we ever plan to gain /retain their loyalty.

    What we are doing presently with the websites is extremely short-sighted and detrimental to our future. If we continue on this path we will have no credibility whatsoever down the road.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    It’s a shame that this blog which could be useful has resorted and allows such racist comments as the Tucson comments. No wonder the industry is going bad.

  8. Jim Hopkins Says:

    10:38 am: I believe you missed the point: Those were comments that were published on the Citizen’s website; the commenter repeated them here so we could see another example of the sort of stuff readers are writing on GCI websites.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Readers posting that kind of crap is one thing. A news organization that allows posts that clearly violate TOS is quite another. Personally, I believe allowing those posts to linger speaks volumns about the organization’s real commitment to diversity.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Re: 9:43:
    Unless in a managerial role or a position not covered by wage and hour laws, do not work unpaid overtime. It can be tough, obviously, to take a stand with management, but Gannett must abide by the laws and that should be reiterated time and time again. If you earned it, get it.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    At the Gannett paper here in Pensacola, a bunch of faithful blog posters were unhappy sharing the paper’s blog space with those who wrote such crap as noted above and they started their own blog. It’s monitored regularly, best I can tell, and I’ve never seen horrible offensive comments on yet. That’s how I found it, on the PNJ site several posted about the new one. I think it’s kind of funny. They comment on every story in the paper and other stuff as well. I don’t know how long it’s been around but I’d guess at least 6 months and still going.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    “Bus collides with dump trucks, killing 4 studenyts …”

    As an online moderator, I find readers are first to discover and comment on these kinds of errors, usually with wise cracks. As the comments scroll by me, I track down the story and go fix the headline or copy errors. I always post a “thank you” to the reader for alerting us.

    A funny socialization takes place in the community of people who post regularly. They aren’t really anonymous so much as they’re operating under pen names. They value the reputation of those pen names. So, regular posters seem to get less mean in the criticism and look forward to being praised for being the one who caught the error. They appreciate that someone cares about the error. They become invested in the product then, and some will come to the defense of reporters and moderators when they’re being picked on.

    As someone who comes from decades of copy editing, though, I deplore that these mistakes happen as frequently as they do in any version of our product. Gannett never has seemed to value the rim, which was the cream of the crop in newsrooms of the past.

    If I were managing the company, I’d do away with bylines except where they’ve been earned, return to the formulaic 5 w’s and h just the facts m’am, and invest in a couple of top rewrite editors and a powerful rim with a focus on outstanding headline writing.

    Megacorporate newspapers, lacking market competition, lost the fundamentals of good journalism long before the overdue online transformation.

    No matter where people read our work, they still want crisp, concise writing, accurate reporting and compelling headlines. Readers haven’t changed because they read online. They still don’t want to waste their time reading redundancies and sloppy writing.

    The company has to stop bleeding newsrooms, and especially of their old pros, in these budget cuts if they expect the “patient” to survive. Ads can’t succeed in bringing consumers to vendors if our package doesn’t offer an abundance of unique, diverse and readable content independent of the advertisers.

    (Down from the soapbox.)

  13. Anonymous Says:

    “Unless in a managerial role or a position not covered by wage and hour laws, do not work unpaid overtime. …”

    I hear you and feel the same, but the law is a toothless tiger now. The reality is that we’re slaves of the corporation, if only because we can’t afford medical care without the insurance benefits of “employment.”

    The Bush administration’s DOL is pro-corporation and anti-labor. No one is going to advocate for our work hours, and most of us work in “at will” employment states.

    We know that it’s phony to have virtually the entire newsroom on overtime-exempt status, and we know the law is supposed to impose penalties when the company doesn’t provide for comp time for exempt workers with the same “flexibility” as our extra hours were expected or accepted.

    But who’s going to stop Gannett or any other company from firing someone for speaking up for their rights? Plenty of good journalists are out of work and willing to scab. I would like to be wrong here and hear from a success story.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    3:09 PM
    You know, people get upset about the strangest things. Makes me wonder just how many advertisers might see a headline with a glaring error in it and decide to take their business elsewhere.

    About readers wanting praise for noticing errors—-you know, I never thought about it quite that way. I think readers visit the products to read news. I think they’re looking for intrinsic rewards (I’m smarter, more informed, entertained, touched, outraged enough to act)more so than pats on the back from news staff. I could be wrong.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    10:27, I totally agree with you there. It’s becoming an embarressment and yes, sad to say, it will affect the newspapers credibility eventually. I just don’t get it.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I know it is a sore point with some people to criticize the North Jersey Group, however the subjects of lunches and breaks begs for comment.

    In Bridgewater, for example, if you dare to take a fifteen minute break you will be sitting in the cafeteria alone. Overpriced coffee is dispensed from a machine which gives the product a bad name!

    Lunches are generally eaten at one’s desk. The microwaves in almost every department seem to attest to the expectation of this policy. Should one venture to purchase food from the vending machines, the overpriced products are worse than the coffee.

    This may sound petty, but it is an example of how shabbily some people in the NJ Group are treated. We know it’s different in Absury Park, but no one would trade a cafeteria meal for a Lean Cuisine hot out of the microwave. Would they?

  17. Anonymous Says:

    This thread is one of the worst ever put on the blog.
    With all the real issues facing newspapers, is this the best we can do for discussion groups?
    Give me a break!

    It’s another example of why it continues to be a blog for complainers and very little else.

  18. Jim Hopkins Says:

    You’ve just complained — about too many complainers! I’m always open to a new discussion topic; what’s your preference?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I like the open forum because it shakes things up then gives more potency to the blogs of the paper! And also neutralizes the negative comments to a fresh start! Good idea jim!

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Esquire named Murdoch one of the most influential people and he is very optimistic about newspapers in the article.

    In addition, there were some really positive comments made last week in NY about newspapers, although there were skeptics as well.

    Does it not benefit us to look for some supporters (credible ones at that) and not just the gloom predictors?

    You don’t see that stuff on this blog…just the doom and gloom.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, I posted those comments not to knock the Citizen Web staff, but to point out what kind of garbage overwhelms them and other moderators. I’m disappointed that the staff doesn’t always catch that kind of thing, but the “way to go” was really a jab at the readers… sorry, that wasn’t clear.

    The posters who say weeding out this kind of crap deserves a higher priority are spot on. I know our house is burning, but allowing this kind of culture to fester is NOT helping. It reflects poorly on our product.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    “Mail often brings surprises. But few cone-of-silence notes rival two that just got thrown over the transom — a pair of jaw-droppers (but not bad news!) that obligate me to remind you again about the secret world of Gannett Blog.”

    Jim, anymore updates on this posting from a few days ago?

  23. Anonymous Says:

    check this out:

    its a great big ap graphic about executive pay. click an arrow and you get to a searchable database of s&p 500 execs' pay. craig dubow ranks 242, with a mere $7,867,594 (couldnt' they spare the $6 to round it up?)

    click on his name in the list and see a bar graph that shows that his pay went up by almost the same percent as the stock went down.

    like the bumper sticker says, if your not mad, your not paying attention.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Well, another investment analysis shows Gannett as a very safe bet. good reading.

  25. Jim Hopkins Says:

    7:29 pm wrote: “”Mail often brings surprises. But few cone-of-silence notes rival two that just got thrown over the transom — a pair of jaw-droppers (but not bad news!) that obligate me to remind you again about the secret world of Gannett Blog.”

    “Jim, anymore updates on this posting from a few days ago?”

    Answer: I’m still working on one. The other can’t be reported because I don’t have permission.

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