Digital Backyards Forum Users – Would and could not work without their input

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  • When our science editor travelled Japan to report on the changes after the Fukushima catastrophe, he of course asked users for their questions, their concerns, their expectations.
    When our economics editor realized that there was one angry user constantly commenting on articles about the Euro crisis in harsh words, he decided to visit this man at home and learn about his frustration.
    – Two examples of how ZEIT ONLINE understands itself as an interactive, collaborative platform. Thousands of (not all but mostly helpful) user comments on each week, countless very active fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are the feedback we need, use and cherish. Funny enough we still call articles written by users “Leserartikel” (readers’ articles) although this passive way of consuming media imminent in the word “reader” for us and many of our competitors is a thing of the past. What would YOU prefer?

    Domenika Ahlrichs ·

    What interesting to me is an assumption that people are generally aware and reflected. Sometimes that is the case, sometimes it isn’t. I wonder where ZEIT draws the line for contributions. The censorship filter at ZEIT is famous for its tendency to suppress “counter-factual” contributions for abitrary reasons, those countering the preconceptions of the narrative and expectation routines. What mechanisms are applied to try out a counter narrative and scrutinize charged reporting? Think for example about the Pussy Riot case. The dominant narrative, the allegation that a Russian President is capable to, willing to directly influence a court decision (or would be reasonable to do so as a power politician) was not called into question, not checked in any way by journalistic standards (which to a certain degree also is impossible). Only reader comments informed about the fact that Germany has a similar penalty code, even if that was just ius nondum and would hardly apply to art. How to promote well reasoned opinions and contributions and suppress ill-informed flame baits without getting into a preconception trap? How do popularity and truth of opinions coexist? How does reader interaction help against journalistic truthiness?

    André Rebentisch ·
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