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YOUR VIEW: A Closer Look at the KOMU 8 News Comment Policies

Posted: Nov 1, 2013 2:36 PM by Jen Lask and Dan Molloy, KOMU 8 Reporters
Updated: Nov 1, 2013 2:37 PM

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COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News viewer Alicia Stanford wrote on the station's Facebook page on Monday, asking that viewer comments be banned from the page. Stanford cited the comments about a fatal accident on I-70 on October 26, 2013.

"It is ridiculous how some of the moronic people from Columbia and surrounding area take this as an invitation to show their stupidity," Stanford wrote. "Every time an accident is posted it does nothing but open the page for ignorant comments and blaming the person that was killed. Posting the news is your job, not setting up an open forum that brings in all the roaches of the city."

KOMU 8 News responded to the post by explaining our station adheres to the philosophy of giving all voices in the community a chance to be heard. Stanford then pointed out how hard it can be for family and friends to see speculation about a person's death online.

However, MU Associate Journalism Professor Joy Mayer said while monitoring the comments section is important, it is not a news outlet's place to determine what controversial comments need to be censored.

"Our comment policy at the Columbia Missourian says no personal attacks," Mayer explained. "So that's up for debate. What constitutes a personal attack is up for debate. But you need to be having conversations about it so you decide as a newsroom, what does that mean? Saying something unpopular is not a personal attack, saying something insensitive is not necessarily a personal attack."
While KOMU 8 News does reserve the option to remove comments from a story, it only does so in extreme situations:
  • Pornography
  • Obscenity
  • Profanity
  • Bigotry
  • Racism
  • Vulgarity
  • Hatred
  • Violence

KOMU 8 Interactive Director Annie Hammock said she believes allowing conversations to grow is a critical part of delivering the news.

"Even though there's a lot of negativity in comments sections, they still serve an important role," Hammock said. "And that role is to give members of the audience a chance to listen to other members of the audience."

To learn more about KOMU 8's Community Guidelines, click here.

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