Of all the small media operations in the state, The New Haven Independent, run by editor Paul Bass, is among the best. In addition to being a pioneer in local online media, it is a model of journalistic integrity.
Bass proved this again recently when he decided to suspend, perhaps permanently, the posting of reader comments on the bottoms of stories.
Bass and his colleagues had been moderating their comment boards and eliminating all the crap that they inevitably (and sadly) bring; but they were being overwhelmed. One particularly nasty comment sneaked through, apparently.
“It became an all-consuming task to keep up with,” Bass explained later. “And we were failing at it. I concluded we don’t have the resources to do it right; and maybe it’s not necessarily our role anymore, anyway, given the rise of social media.”
As a veteran of the Comment Wars myself, I applaud Bass’s move and, unlike writer Dan Kennedy, don’t think that a news site without a trailer-load of drivel is of reduced value. That’s what Facebook and blogs like this one are for.
In fact, given the enormous amount of time, money and effort a news organization must devote to pan an ounce of value from tons of online mud, I think the public is better served when those resources are put into original reporting.
Certainly there is not enough of that these days.