Text comments? They’re so last year
TMZ and the New York Times are the latest news organisations to dip a toe in the world of multimedia commenting.
The NYT recently posted a video ‘letter to the editor’, while the TMZ.com blog is letting readers post audio comments, with video comments in the pipeline. They join the San Francisco Chronicle, who earlier in the year started podcasting voice messages from readers.
Meanwhile, This Is Me Reporting.com, launched this month, takes it a stage further – a whole site dedicated to reader comment and communication.
Examples include a man suggesting someone investigate the legal implications of eBay having access to PayPal’s customer data; a reader on the Madeleine McCann story; amateur footage of the aftermath of a plane crash; and Tim Berners-Lee explaining the importance of net neutrality.
Leanne McMahon from the site told me the people involved so far have either jumped ship from YouTube or are running videos on both: “We have a wide range of members at the moment from ‘Tom’ who is a psychologist to ‘TomLarkin’ who is a US marine.”
The site was set up to try to combat a perceived one-sidedness in professional journalism.
“We only get to see what the people who run these stations want us to see. You never hear the real story from real people, you never hear about anything good, you never see reports about ordinary people and their day to day lives. I hope this site will make this kind of news accessible.”
Key to the site is a personal relationship with site members: “We communicate frequently,” says Leanne, “and this brings a personal touch to the site.”
At the moment most content is in the channels for local, national and international news and opinion, while those for film, book and theatre reviews have no videos. There are also plans for a documentary photograph section.