What happens when journalists take a more active role in comment sections?
First, we wondered whether posing a question prior to the comment section would change the amount or substance of comment section dialogue. Instead of giving site visitors no direction, perhaps giving them a topic to discuss would generate more comments and a more substantive exchange. We worked with a media partner who had sites in two different communities. The same story would be posted to both sites, but one site would include the question prior to the comment section while the other would not.
Second, if a reporter engages with citizens in a comment section, does it change the dialogue? We worked with a news station to randomly vary whether or not a reporter engaged with site visitors in the comment section.
Stroud, N. J., Muddiman, A., Scacco, J., & Curry, A. (2013, August). Deliberation in newsroom comment sections. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association, Political Communication Division, Chicago.