Online, Facebook comments insensitive
I am continually disappointed by the lack of sensitivity, and at times, intelligence displayed by those commenting on stories, especially those commenting on The Recorder’s Facebook page.
My disappointment resurfaced last week with the hundreds of comments made on Facebook regarding the tragic traffic accident that claimed two young lives.
For some reason, people want to use such tragic events to push their own agenda and judging by the comments, a good number of them were done by people who had not read the story.
It is not as bad on The Recorder’s website, but it seems Facebook is more conducive to gossip and tragic stories tends to bring commentators out of the woodwork.
There is also the misconception that The Recorder, or any newspaper, is required to post stories on Facebook or that we are required to post stories on our website the second they are written. One person, who acts like a know-it-all, constantly complains that stories are not posted in a timely manner, but that person does not subscribe and apparently, never buys the paper.
There were also complaints that we only put things on Facebook to get people to buy the paper. That is partially true. I would love to someday drop all Facebook postings and see how many of those waiting for the Facebook postings will go to the website, or heaven forbid, purchase a paper.
Now, unless I am confused, no one works for free here at The Recorder. Everyone is paid to do their jobs and if we simply gave the news away for free, then how would we be able to pay our employees.
Fewer and fewer newspapers are giving away their stories for free. More and more papers are backing off from the Internet or social media. Many, including the Visalia newspaper and the Los Angeles Times only allow so many story views a month before you have to pay. Even the weekly Foothills-Sun Gazette charges to read stories on its website.
The problem with the Internet is no news organizations have found a way to pay their bills if they rely solely on the Internet. Newspapers make money by selling papers, but that is really nothing more than to pay for the cost of printing the paper. It is advertising that pays the bulk of the bills, advertising on the newsprint pages.
We owe it to those advertisers to draw as many readers to the print pages as possible. That is why your are seeing more and more fees being charged to read stories on websites.
Newspapers have made it easier to subscribe online. The Recorder offers an e-subscription where you pay just $5.45 a month and get to see the entire paper online. You may have noticed the little icon in the upper-right hand corner of our home page. Not only do you get the main news stories of the day, but you get the columns, comics, and every ad, just as they appear in the print edition. For those who are comfortable with reading a paper online, it is a great way, and an inexpensive way, to read The Recorder.
As for those who want it free, I would say those days are numbered. It won’t be long before even The Recorder charges to read stories. It is the future in papers and I am one who can’t wait for it to happen, and also can’t wait to see people be a little more sensitive when commenting about a tragedy.
Rick Elkins is editor of the Porterville Recorder. He can be reached at 784-5000, ext. 1040, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.