So Should We Give People What They Want?

Sarah Palin wrote against cap-and-trade policies in the Washington Post. The second paragraph included this sentence:

“Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges.”

On this blog we have two recent entries about Palin. So far they’ve generated 50 comments. To get to 50 comments on topics other than Palin you have to go back 21 other posts.

If I were to base my posts on what draws the most comments, I’d be writing about Palin, Clinton/Lewinsky, or anything else that would boost comments and views. I don’t, and frankly I think in large part it’s because I don’t think you really want me to.

Am I right?

18 thoughts on “So Should We Give People What They Want?

  1. I can think of a few subjects that might generate interesting discussion and ‘hits’…

    Cap and Trade
    SEED and the Port of Bremerton
    Afghanistan
    What are the Priorities of Goood Government?
    Obama’s birth certificate (JUST KIDDING!)

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  2. By the way, the “captcha” spam thing is very annoying when you can’t read it and you type a letter wrong and it erases your post and you have to start over! Isn’t there a better way?

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  3. Just for the record….”hits” don’t necessarily indicate interest in a post or the number of “reads”. The impact of the story can be felt in many ways. Some stories have “hits” that provide excellent conversation or debate. While other stories ”hits” go right into the tabloid gutter and are simply the equivalent of verbal litter.

    I have not commented on any of the recent Palin stories, but have been checking the posts and reading them every day. It has been really fun just following the conversation. I found the back and forth from Elliott, Karen, Sharon, RV and Kathryn to be spot on and did not have anything additional to add. And everybody knows I am not shy when it comes to “adding”.

    Frankly Steven, I think you are over analyzing the whole “hit” thing. Are you guys over at the Sun having some sort of back room competition when it comes to which reporter or story gets the most “hits”? Come on, you know the 911 stories will ALWAYS win. (smile). Put the measuring device away, and just write about what is necessary, timely and interesting. And get back on Port Orchard will ya. They really need a reality check. All those paint fumes are making them bold.

  4. RV,
    I click the “new challenge button” a lot. ;-) Unfortunately, sometimes what I think I see isn’t what Captcha sees. Kinda like my political views and others. (smile)

    Colleen,
    I would never consider YOU shy! LOL

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  5. Kathryn, sounds like you need clarity. Or is that carroty. ;-)

    I agree, Colleen. Just look at some of the articles from the front page which end up with 30+ comments. Sometimes I’ll glance and lose interest after reading the first or second comment. At other times I don’t bother reading them at all.

    Sometimes a high number of clicks or comments is akin to rubbernecking.

  6. Colleen,
    Are you trying to tell me that I see the world through a different lens color? Hhmmmph. (smile)

    RV,
    Carroty…I like it! Or is that keratine?

    By the way, I won’t trade my carrot colored glasses for anything. They are the best reading glasses I have ever found. Besides, I can blame my typos on them now. (grin)

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  7. Well, you puzzle me by placing Palin and Clinton’s personal friend, Lewinsky in the same slot.
    May I ask what you think they have in common?
    Palin ran for V.P. on the R ticket, she is the Governor of Alaska..she has a great political future, my opinion. That she is a political figure, why wouldn’t you write about her?

    Lewinsky had a relationship with Clinton … why would you write about that or her further exploits?

    Keep up what you’re doing – you’re not writing for a scandal magazine… you write about the things that affect us, things we NEED to know, it is your job to tell us, thank you very much.

    “Am I right?” You know you are…thank you.
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. Sharon makes a great point. It is the newspapers responsibility, in reporting, to report the news. Editorials should be left to the OP-Ed pages and/or readers.

    Now, that said, I’m of the opinion that the Kitsap Sun Blogs are considered part of the OP-Ed ‘section’ of the online paper. Yes? No? Maybe so?

    Part of the quantum shift in the news business in the past 20 years has been the interactive quality that the media has gained. I think there has been a struggle to find the balance between when the media is reporting the news and when they are facilitating the discussion of the news. I have a suggestion. Use the background color of KitsapSun.com pages to give viewers a visual ‘cue’ of whether you are reporting the news or facilitating the discussion. The baby blue pages could be where readers expect you to provide the facts and report the news. Then you could use to a light yellow (yeah, I’m playing on “yellow journalism”) for your OP-Ed pages. Just a thought. Hey… if you do it, it might catch on… and become a standard in the industry… Maybe we just invented something?

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  9. keratine?

    Well, someone I know has lighter hair these days, so you tell me.

    I don’t see public interactivity and reporting the news as being mutually exclusive. The former can still comment and go off on tangents about how many pairs of shoes Palin owns, but the news can still be ‘hardcore’ news of relevance.

  10. Hay sol en mi cabello hoy. ;-)

    Palin owns shoes? Dang, why wasn’t I informed! I’d assumed she only had very pointy boots! (giggle)

  11. The reason for the lack of hits are the ideologues who troll this site and hammer on people with coherent, original and independent ideas. I think people get tired of listening to the same old same old parroting of party mantra. It’s a good site, Mr. Gardner, it’s just that no one is allowed to weigh in except the resident ideologues. You’d think they would realize if they backed off a little, new people with new ideas might venture forth. Maybe that’s what they’re afraid of. Something they can’t control. People without party affiliation.

    You would think they would realize, if they truly want to reach across the aisle, that they might have give a little. Like entertaining the idea that the press was merciless with Sarah Palin. Or that 100 million dollars is way too much money to find out what kind of sex someone had, even the sitting President.

    I like Sharon O’Hara’s posts. Logical, common sense, sometimes her opinions are what we traditionally consider this party, sometimes the other, sometimes neither. It seems the most honest.

    Have a great weekend.

  12. What I do Kathryn is quickly copy the message I have just typed and then if I make a mistake on the captcha I haven’t lost the message. Usually, you don’t have to copy it into a word document, (although that is an option). Instead, you can just hold it on your clipboard.

  13. Karen,

    Who says others aren’t allowed to weigh in? I think it is more of an apathetic citizenry who thinks weighing in is futile.

    Mary,
    Thank you. That is what I often do, but sometimes forget.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  14. Well Steven, I knew you were over analyzing an elevated level of participation that frankly does not currently exist in our humble community. If you want the perfect example of this that will shake your faith in humanity as a whole and cause you to question man’s (or woman’s) ability to reason and learn then by all means please read the “Seagull” story comments http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jul/20/troopers-under-investigation-for-allegedly-sea/. Over 100 of them at this time. Quite disturbing on a number of social levels.

    By the way it appears that Ed has won hands down, the backroom competition at the Sun on which stories get the most comments or hits. Way to go Ed.

  15. I’ve been blogging here for quite some time and still don’t pretend to know the political or religious sensibilities of everyone who has ever participated.

    It doesn’t matter if consensus or agreement is reached. What does is engagement which tones down ad hominem rhetoric, so that yearning for coherent, original and independent ideas is genuine.

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