In Moderation: Examining how journalists’ attitudes toward online comments aff ect the creation of community
One of Kovach and Rosenstiel’s (2007) key elements of journalism is that it must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise. That role is vital for the creation of communities that can use the information journalism provides to make informed democratic decisions. The way in which journalists have used the internet has markedly changed news organizations’ ability to fulfill that role. The Web makes comments instant, feedback immediate, and discussion archiving complete. This evolution mandates a change in journalists’ relationships with their audiences (Robinson 2010) and is especially relevant for community reporters whose very mission is to nurture connection between citizens and the stories of their towns (see Robinson’s  Introduction to this special issue). But how is that relationship evolving exactly, and more importantly, how can community journalists facilitate that engagement in the digital age? This research attempts to provide one answer to these questions.