Reader Comments: Public Sewer Or Public Service?

This week’s ‘Navel Gazing: The Valley Indy Podcast’ hits close to home.

We discuss online comments with Marie K. Shanahan, author of the just-released academic tome “Journalism, Online Comments, and the Future of Public Discourse.”

Click play to listen!

Shanahan is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut.

Some nuggets from Shanahan’s book:

  • “Sociopolitical elites,” including people in power or people trying to obtain power, are most likely to complain about comments made on a story.
  • Fun fact: a study showed a story without reader comments was perceived as impartial. Throw in reader comments, and the story went from viewed as impartial to biased.

Prior to teaching at UConn, Shanahan was a reporter and web editor at The Hartford Courant.

She currently serves on the non-profit board of directors of the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, Connecticut Foundation for Open Government and The Connecticut News Project (The CT Mirror).


The podcast was sponsored by The Valley Gives Back, a new initiative from The Valley Community Foundation.

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