Comments on digital news stories and on social media play an increasingly important role in public discourse as more citizens communicate through online networks. The reasons for eliminating comments on news stories are plentiful. Off-topic posts and toxic commentary have been shown to undermine legitimate news reporting. Yet the proliferation of digital communication technology has revolutionized the setting for democratic participation. The digital exchange of ideas and opinions is now a vital component of the democratic landscape. Marie K. Shanahan's book argues that public digital discourse is crucial component of modern democracy—one that journalists must stop treating with indifference or detachment—and for news organizations to use journalistic rigor and better design to add value to citizens’ comments above the social layer. Through original interviews, anecdotes, field observations and summaries of research literature, Shanahan explains the obstacles of digital discourse as well as its promises for journalists in the digital age.
Chapter 1 – Bystanders
Chapter 2 – A Story is a Promise of a Conversation
Chapter 3 – Discourse Amid Discord
Chapter 4 – What's Civility Got to Do With It?
Chapter 5 – Journalism's Contradictions of Anonymity
Chapter 6 – Debugging Digital Discourse