Kudos, Orlando Sentinel

April 16, 2012

by Roger Pynn

I’ve often referred to message boards at newspaper websites as “the sewer of the Internet” because they are often more a place for spewing anger (or even stupidity) than sharing insight or solutions, and my business partner Dan Ward has written here in the past about how newspapers are dealing with the challenges these channels present.

In Sunday’s Orlando Sentinel, Editor Mark Russell wrote a thoughtful column on the topic and shared the Sentinel’s latest efforts to capitalize on the popularity of this interactive component in the age of digital newspapering.  Said, Russell, “We’re committed to making our website a place where people can engage with each other and with the Sentinel.  Commenting is an important part of that.”

What stands out about the Sentinel policies is that multiple news employees are engaged in monitoring the participation on their message boards … not just one, as is the case at many papers.  And, rather than simply removing something deemed offensive, they actually engage the “offender” and work to build understanding in their online community.

There remain a lot of questions about the intersection of journalism and the commercial interests of companies that now are as driven by clicks as they were 30 years ago by coupon clipping, but Russell is right, this is an interactive, user-driven age.  Give them credit for a hands-on approach.

How does this happen?

April 16, 2012

by Roger Pynn


I’m old enough to remember Julie Newmar in her heyday, and I’m old enough to remember when newspaper copy editors made sure they didn’t run the same story two days in a row in exactly the same position … on page 2A.

I’m still trying to figure out how that happened in the Orlando Sentinel Sunday and Monday (April 15 & 16) when a feature about the gal who played perhaps the most memorable Catwoman ever was repeated verbatim.

With space at a premium these days, and readers of print editions bemoaning the withering size of their morning paper, you just have to wonder how that can happen.  And equally confusing is how you can’t even find the feature on the paper’s website.


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