Monday, March 27, 2017

Rapid City Journal ends racist reader comments

The Rapid City Journal listened to me. Starting today, the online edition will no longer publish comments on any news articles other than obituaries.
Each day, editors at the Journal spend a significant amount of time reviewing the comments prior to publication, weeding out those that include personal attacks, unsavory language or are simply hateful. That process in its own right has drawn the ire of readers who take the time to write, and then may be disappointed when their comments are rejected. It no longer feels like time well spent. [Bart Pfankuch, editor of the Rapid City Journal]
Historically in the bag for ethics-free wrong-wing extremists and earth haters like Steve Daines, John Thune, Greg Gianforte, Kevin Cramer, Liz Cheney and Mike Rounds Lee newspapers are media cripples.

The Rapid City Journal perpetuates hatred by allowing outrageous racist comments in their feedback section under articles published there and censors journalists like Jim Kent. Veteran reporters and spouses Mary Garrigan and Kevin Woster fled the Journal in 2013.

That pretty much leaves Bob Mercer and Bill Janklow's idea of public radio to write the gloomy news from South Dakota's capital city.

In 2015 Lee Newspapers of Montana eviscerated their Capital bureau.
What began as a noble experiment in conversation has been mired in name-calling, epithet and trolling. There have been at least four iterations of commenting on The Billings Gazette's website since it began. Each had a limitation on how much control it could exert. Few commenting strings stayed civil. That's why beginning Tuesday, we're turning off comments. The Gazette is not the first to do it. National Public Radio decided it was time to pull the plug on comments last month. We're not even the first in our company to do it — the Quad Cities Times is about two weeks ahead of us. [Billings Gazette]
Mike Dennison left Lee and went to a Montana teevee station. Former Lee reporter, Martin Kidston recently launched the Missoula Current. Chuck Johnson has been covering Helena during the 2017 legislative session for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

The Missoulian should be the next Lee paper to end reader comments.

The Gannett Company should buy Lee Enterprises which owns the Rapid City Journal and 45 other daily newspapers; but, Lee Newspapers of Montana could survive as part of a Bismarck Tribune, Rapid City Journal, Casper Star-Trib marriage and not become part of a Gannett takeover.

LEE is trading at $2.58 at post time while GCI is trading at $8.15.

1 comment:

larry kurtz said...

Update, 29 March, 0720 MDT: so, i stand corrected. "But like many other news organizations, we have concluded that allowing comments on every story on our sites rarely adds consistent value to the public debate and, too often, hurts innocent subjects of the stories, makes the jobs of our reporters harder and harms the reputation of the Missoulian and the Ravalli Republic."