Greg Hoffman



Reader Comments on Local News Sites Crack Me Up!

We've all been entertained, inspired, enraged or whatever by published opinions by the masses on the internet. If it isn't Twitter, Facebook, Myspace or blogs, its forums that we've followed interesting threads or postings. But my favorite new social interaction is reading the comments on news stories in the Tampa Tribune's

It's the feature stories that attract the best comments. I don't really care what anyone thinks about Ralph Nader running for President again. But I do want to see what is said about a gator that gets trapped in a local pond...

Some people just don't get journalism. They don't think some of these stories are news and they ignorantly chastise the editors for publishing the story. I usually jump in and defend the editors. It's stories like this that make interesting, not just a headline delivery service. It's called local flavor!!! Whether it's a story about socialites that are offended during local festivities or a nuisance gator bothering little Johnny, this is what makes up our community.

It could be worse, when I worked for the Rome News Tribune in Northwest Georgia, they published the weekend police blotter. Talk about non-news, but this is what people read. "Mr. George Wortham was arrested for destroying a mailbox on Goober Holler Road." If the Tampa Tribune published police blotter stories, I can only imagine the uproar. First, the comments would be hilarious, second, the arguments about whether or not its news would be even more entertaining.

The point is...for newspapers to survive, they need to let their guard down a bit. And the comments on is certainly a way to keep the interest going.


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