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Study shows gaps between editors, readers over user commenting

April 9th, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Interesting new study by APME and the Reynolds Journalism Institute about differences of opinion between editors and online users, particularly over user commentary. Summary from AP story:

NEW YORK – Newspaper readers agree with editors on the basics of what makes good journalism, but they are more apt to want looser rules for online conversations, a new study on news credibility has found.

Newspapers highly discourage anonymous remarks, for instance, and editors are more likely than readers to want that principle applied to reader comments online, according to the Online Journalism Credibility Study released Tuesday by the Associated Press Managing Editors group and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.

Some 70 percent of editors surveyed said requiring commenters to disclose their identities would support good journalism, while only 45 percent of the public did. Similarly, 58 percent of editors said letting journalists join online conversations and give personal views would harm journalism, but only 36 percent of the public agreed

Here is where the highest gaps were between readers and editors (note: Sample size of readers on this is just 161, not the full 500 cited in other parts of the report. I believe the 161 is those in the sample who said they got local news from the Internet).

Higher importance for readers than editors, and points gap from ratings scale of 1-7

  • Journalists joining the conversation online and giving personal views: (Readers score this on average 1.06 points higher than editors)
  • Inviting users to participate without using their real identities: 1.03 gap
  • Providing convenient links from news stories to related advertising: 0.65 gap
  • Applying same standards to news produced by citizens as to news written by journalists: 0.29 gap
  • Users enforcing standards on such matters as crude language and personal attacks: 0.2 gap

Higher importance for editors than users, and points gap from ratings scale of 1-7

  • Requiring users who participate to state their real identities: 1.13 gap
  • Creating content intended to attract a diverse group of users: 1.07 gap
  • Journalists actively seeking varied viewpoints from people to comment on the news: 0.8 gap
  • Labeling news and opinion: 0.67 gap
  • Giving the public ways to provide information for news stories: 0.65 gap

Executive Summary, here.
Full Report, here.
AP Story, here.

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