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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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This weekend's column: Finding worthy comments ...

Above: The best take on the new "open journalism." From, who else, The Guardian.

- Searching for worthy comments - George Pyle, The Salt Lake Tribune

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"The real news from this piece is that comments sections aren’t completely useless." — Andrew Beaujon, The Poynter Institute

Careful readers of The Tribune’s Sunday Opinion section may have noticed a new feature.

Called "The Commentariat," it was rolled out a few weeks ago with what the retailers call a soft open. Which means we just started without calling any attention to it. Which gives you a chance to work out the bugs, or pretend it never happened, before cutting the ribbon.

"The Commentariat" replaces an older feature — which also just sort of appeared one day — called "Clippings." That was a review of some of the previous week’s editorials.

In an online context, "Clippings" would be known as an ICYMI (in case you missed it) offering. But the ethos of online argues against printing anything twice, as everything printed once lives on, unabbreviated, on our website. No need to take up limited newsprint by inking it out again.

"The Commentariat," then, owes its existence to the brave new world of online newspapering in two ways. One, it replaces something that is just too, too old school. Two, it rounds up — or "curates," as we now like to say — things that were created in the infinite universe of online commentary and puts them before you, saving you the trouble of having to wade through so much hay to find the needles.

Which means that one of us spends some time each week slogging through the comments appended to many Tribune editorials, columns and news articles, seeking out some witty, short, on-topic, short, original — and short — comments to go into this feature.

Careful readers of the Sunday Opinion section may also know that I’m the one who, back in September, approvingly quoted a respected journalist/academic as saying that the whole concept of online comments is the biggest mistake newspapers have made in half a century of big mistakes. [Read the rest ...]


- Clearing waters in the reader comment streams - Tim Fitzpatrick, The Salt Lake Tribune

- David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme, on the Times-Picayune cuts - Columbia Journalism Review

- How David Simon is wrong about paywalls - Howard Owens, Columbia Journalism Review

- Online name-calling, racially charged comments end cute baby contest - AnnArbor.com

- Who owns the online me, anyway? - Daniel A. Lublin, The Globe and Mail

- 'Thank You Hater' video by Isabel Fay trumps trolls with tribute track - The Telegraph

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