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Gold Country Media unveils new comment system

Facebook used to increase accountability online
By: Gold Country News Service
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Starting Monday, Gold Country Media will change the way its online readers interact with each other and its eight community newspapers. Readers will now post comments through their Facebook profiles in an effort to increase accountability on each website and encourage a more welcoming online environment. Facebook profiles are free and now readers can use their already established accounts to post their thoughts and reactions on their community newspaper’s website. Those who do not have a Facebook account will need to create one to participate in online discussions. Gold Country Media leadership said the decision to post comments using Facebook was made to increase accountability online and to foster better discussions. “The goal behind our online comment system is to encourage the community to further discuss the issue at hand,” said Jenifer Gee, editor of the Auburn Journal, the daily newspaper within GCM’s cluster. “We want to hear and read about what the community thinks. However, often times, commenters take stories and comments out of context and we end up with hateful, anonymous posts that do nothing to encourage healthy, educated debate.” Todd Frantz, publisher of the Auburn Journal, added that he believes the new system that identifies commenters will encourage others to join the conversation at all of the cluster’s websites. “I’ve heard from many community members that they’re hesitant to comment sometimes because they can be subject to an online attack. I believe with the new comment system people will feel more comfortable expressing their opinion without fear of being torn apart,” Frantz said. How will it look? Comments will still appear at the end of each story. Now, your Facebook photo and name will appear next to your comment. What if you don’t have a Facebook account? Readers who do not have a Facebook account can still actively comment on what’s going on in the community through letters to the editor. “I receive hand-written and emailed letters to the editor on a daily basis from readers who sign their first and last name behind their opinion,” Gee said. “All of GCM’s editors will continue to run those letters in the newspaper and online.” Frantz agrees that each community newspaper’s website will continue to be a community forum both online and in print. “We look forward to the way our readers will communicate with us and each other,” Frantz said. “We enjoy hearing from the community and believe we are now providing a more inviting and informative online town hall.” ---------- How to create a Facebook profile 1. Go to www.facebook.com 2. Fill in information under “Sign Up” on the right hand side of the home page 3. The site will ask for basic information to create your account 4. Once your profile is set up, and you are logged into Facebook, you can go to any Gold Country Media website to post a comment to a story 5. If you are not logged into Facebook and want to post a comment, there will be a log-in feature on the right hand side of the comment box ----------