COLUMBIA - With unlimited internet access at our fingertips, is there such a thing as too much online discussion? KOMU looked into reporter-viewer interaction on social media after one reporter was criticized for responding to questions about her story on Facebook.
On October 6, a story about minimum wage hit KOMU's Facebook page. Almost immediately readers had questions about this quote from minimum wage worker Deanthony Simmons:
"The money that I make actually just allows me to do small things, such as going to the movies or go bowling. It doesn't really help attribute to paying my bills," Simmons said.
Several Facebook users responded.
"Did that guy say his income doesn't pay the bills, he instead uses it to go to the movies?" Kyle Murphy asked.
The reporter on the story, Felesha Lee, responded saying, "He is also a student. His parents help him out and he takes out loans. Thanks for watching!"
Michelle Thompson didn't like Lee's response.
"I want to know if there is a reason that Felesha Lee seems to be getting rude in her replies to people on here, seems kind of unprofessional of her," Thompson said.
But Lee said she had good intentions, "Using the internet it's hard to determine people's tone in the first place whenever you're talking to them."
"Whenever I went to clarify, some people didn't take me responding as well as others. But I did want to make sure that I added context to the story because I know that it was my fault that it was not included in the first place," Lee said.
That's why the KOMU 8 Interactive Director prefers student reporters go to management before responding to social media posts.
"I do believe that when she used an exclamation point at the end of her first sentence, the emphasis of that exclamation point could change the perception of that sentence," Annie Hammock said.
But Felesha Lee is not a big fan of being edited on her personal Facebook account.
"Social media is where the viewers get to interact with me and my personality so I don't want that part of me to be edited because I'm already scripted on TV."
But there is one big difference between KOMU reporters and most others.
"Reporters that are going to be on the job for a year or two years or three years develop relationships with their audience that our students are not here long enough to do," Hammock said.