I need some feedback fellow bloggers. In my journalism class, we use a blog hosted by a local newspaper to publish student produced journalism stories. Our professor, who is a former journalist herself, is the mediator and administrator for this site. As such, she uses in the same way she would if it were a print article being published in a newspaper. Yet it is on a blog. So we receive comments.
Some are quite colorful.
We received one this week that was more of a rant, and it was hardly constructive. Likely it was also filled with half truths.
Our professor posed the question: Should this comment be approved for the entire readership to see?
We debated this for most of the class period. There are two schools of thought in this sharp divide:
One group feels we should approve the comment. It is a blog after all and blogs are intended to foster open dialogue and everyone is allowed to their opinion. Since the blog was free of obscenities or profanity – put it out there. If you start deleting comments, then you are only publishing comments that share your perspective. By doing so, you are shaping the topic in your own way and this a form of censorship. Even though we use it for journalistic learning it is a blog and we should allow all perspectives to enter into the dialogue. Even if we may think it the comment is absurd.
The second group feels that we should maintain the integrity of our journalistic endeavors. Since we will not be investing our time to investigate any of the accusations in the comment we cannot ethically publish them. We should not give an audience to this type of authorship. A newspaper does not publish every letter to the editor, and we shall run this blog in the same discriminating spirit. This comment may invite another and it may run away from us in an acerbic dialogue that will take away the value and the good writing of the original piece.
Before I reveal my thoughts on the matter, tell me which side of the fence do you fall on?
Image taken from: Google Images, Censorship