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Archive for September 2010

>Sound Off to feature live chat

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The Register Citizen’s popular Sound Off feature will evolve next week with the start of a weekly “live chat” feature.

The chat will allow readers to discuss and/or debate the issues of the day in real time, and to interact with Register Citizen staff about topics in the news and how the newspaper approaches its coverage and website management.

The chats are free and open to anyone — no registration required.

To participate, log on to the Sound Off between 7 and 8 p.m. on any Wednesday, beginning Sept. 22.

One question still unresolved – and up to you, the readers – is whether we will choose one hot topic a week to discuss, or keep the discussion wide-ranging, similar to the basic Sound Off concept.

CLICK HERE to vote in our survey on which topic our first chat should cover.


Written by mattderienzo

September 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Sound Off

>Silly stuff on SeeClickFix

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>We’ve been absolutely amazed at the popularity and growth of readers using the “SeeClickFix” tool on RegisterCitizen.Com since it was launched earlier this year.

Our partnership with SeeClickFix.Com, an online map-based program, allows you to report a problem in your neighborhood such as potholes or graffiti, and to see and comment on and join in reports that others have made.
Here and across the country, the program has led to real changes, and has been a great tool for public officials to connect with residents for a quick resolution to issues. It has become a technology-enabled uber-neighborhood watch program.
Another amazing thing, considering the amount of abusive comments we get on RegisterCitizen.Com stories, is that folks have been using this tool exactly in the way it was designed.
Lately, however, we’ve gotten some complaints about folks using it to post nonsense or offensive faux “problems.” See the screenshot of a report that mentions me for an example. (Which made us chuckle.)
To keep this tool relevant to those who’ve come to rely upon it for important neighborhood issues, we’d urge readers who notice abusive posts to use the function on SeeClickFix that allows you to report inappropriate content. Like the “report abuse” button attached to every website story comment, it works, and offensive posts will be taken down.

Written by mattderienzo

September 13, 2010 at 3:18 am

Posted in SeeClickFix

>Pretty neat: Live stream, live chat during selectmen’s meeting

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Want some insight into how the way we report the news is changing?
Take a look at what happened last night with one of the weekly newspapers under our Foothills Media Group umbrella.
The police chief vacancy in Canton has been a hot topic for months now, and we took some unprecedented (for us) steps for the selectmen’s meeting last night when a candidate was finally to be named.
Reporter Kaitlyn Yeager set up a live-stream video of the meeting so readers could watch from home.
It was embedded into a story previewing the meeting, and under the video was a live chat that she moderated.
As the meeting happened, she reported live on what was happening via the chat, readers added their own information and opinions on the subject, and were able to ask Kaitlyn questions about what was happening.
Kaitlyn’s story also included a survey asking residents their thoughts on the police chief search, for use in future articles, as well as a timeline graphic walking them through the process that led to last night’s meeting.
A pretty radical change from the old method of writing a story – with no input or questions from readers – on newsprint the next day, or next week in the case of a weekly such as The Canton News.
These kinds of changes are possible, in part, due to a new culture of innovation in the company that Foothills Media Group belongs to.
Journal Register Company owns 19 dailies across the country and hundreds of non-daily publications such as The Canton News.
Kaitlyn is one of 15 employees that Journal Register has named to an “IdeaLab” team. Twenty-five percent of her time is freed up to work on new ideas and technology for us. She received an iPhone, an iPad and Netbook (which was used to livestream last night’s meeting), is sharing ideas back and forth with fellow IdeaLab members, and is involving the rest of our staff as well.

Written by mattderienzo

September 2, 2010 at 10:52 pm

>Online story commenting and registration

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Thought I’d share a comment that was made on Sound Off this morning, and my response, to clear up any questions that folks have about the online story commenting system on our site.

I would welcome any other questions or thoughts, and will listen or respond if you’d like.

Sound off registration. wrote on Sep 1, 2010 8:10 AM:

” I have a close friend who works at the RC (can’t mention name) who tells me the RC is “heavily considering” having people register their names and email addresses for sound off posts.
This is a fantastic idea, which will weed out the only 2 people on this board that name call and cry about politics all day.
When forced into the light of day, these “people” will go back to their conspiricy blogs.
When its time to register..whos bot the fortitude to stay and continue to talk trash? its coming soon. “

Matt DeRienzo wrote on Sep 1, 2010 8:19 AM:

” To “Sound off registration,”

Sorry to disappoint, and don’t know where you got the information, but that’s not true.

Registration doesn’t do anything in terms of requiring commenters to not be anonymous. Just go to Yahoo or any similar email service, set up an account with the name “John Doe” or “Fred Flinstone” and you can see why.

Registration wouldn’t even allow us to ban individuals from commenting. All they would have to do is register again and continue with the abuse.

There is a perception that registration helps end abuse because it cuts down on comments overall, and makes it difficult enough to comment that folks who just have something nasty and flip to say don’t bother.

The problem is that it also makes it difficult enough for folks who have a legitimate interest and much to contribute on one occasional story that they don’t bother.

Although no system is perfect, we feel that the pre-approval of comments we have now, combined with the ability of readers to report abuse for anything that gets through that system that they object to, is a vast improvement over what we used to have, and is preferable to subjecting everyone to the registration process (which doesn’t solve the problem of abuse anyway).

Matt DeRienzo
The Register Citizen
860-489-1877 “

Written by mattderienzo

September 1, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Sound Off