The public media giant’s decision Aug. 17 to end comments on stories says a lot about how community radio needs to approach community online.
In its public post, NPR points out it had core issues with its comments:
After much experimentation and discussion, we’ve concluded that the comment sections on NPR.org stories are not providing a useful experience for the vast majority of our users. In order to prioritize and strengthen other ways of building community and engagement with our audience, we will discontinue story-page comments on NPR.org on August 23.
Online comments have been an ongoing debate among digital and traditional media organizations. Whether your community radio station allows comments on its website or not, you may want to consider some alternatives NPR is looking at, for use at your own station.
- Using social media to tell stories broadcast by a station
- Encouraging staff to share and interact on social media more
- Online forums for audience relations
Community radio engages regularly with its audience, and many stations may opt for tools NPR is using, or others, over comments. How stations effectively connect with listener feedback on programming remains an evolving question.