This week we explore an online tool that organizes reader comments; and we learn how the Deseret News is finding success with a two-pronged strategy.

PART 1: Visual commenting with ReadrBoard

Online comment threads are meant to provide an outlet for the community to share their views, but meaningful discussion can get buried in all the text. ReadrBoard hopes to solve that by creating a plug-in commenting system that structures and visualizes audience responses. We hear from co-founder Porter Bayne about how the system works.

Reporting by Sarah Harkins.

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For more information:

To see how it works on an individual story, check out this example from ProPublica. (The ReadrBoard pop-up appears just below the social media links under the main photo.)

The New York Times and The Washington Post have also been experimenting with approaches to structured commenting on individual stories, as explained in this piece from Nieman Journalism Lab.

PART 2: Success at the Deseret News

While many newspapers struggle with downward trends, last year the Deseret News saw increases in both circulation and revenue. CEO Clark Gilbert credits a business strategy based largely on developing two separate cultures within a newsroom.

Reporting by Chelsea Stuart.

[To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

For more information:

Gilbert explained his strategy in recent workshops for the American Press Institute’s Transformation Tour. His six steps to a successful newsroom transformation are outlined in this piece from API.

According to an in-depth report from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, "the most challenging task for an ex-Harvard professor suddenly running a major media company was selling culture change, and in fact multiple culture changes, to the staff." The report includes a detailed write-up about the Deseret News operation.

Reuben Stern  
Director of NYC Partnerships


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