Home>Highlight>Company that owns NJ.com drops reader comments on their Michigan site

Company that owns NJ.com drops reader comments on their Michigan site

Just 2,350 commenters out of 50 million users account for 60% of all comments, executive says

By David Wildstein, February 19 2020 9:26 am

MLive.com, run by the same company that owns NJ.com, is eliminating their comments section that sits beneath each story.

That’s part of a growing trend nationally.  The Gannett chain, which operates ten New Jersey daily newspapers, has dropped their comment section everywhere except the recently-acquired Burlington County Times and New Jersey Herald.

According to MLive.com, about 5,000 people out of 10 million unique users use the comments section.

“Across our company nationwide, with 50 million users or more a month, 2,340 commenters account for more than 60 percent of all comments posted,” said John Hiner, the vice president of content at MLive Media Group, in a column he posted on his site.

Hiner said that comments sections “Leave an out-sized impression.

“Conversations routinely go off-topic, the tone can get uncivil or even nasty, and our moderators (and a vendor our company hires) stay busy around the clock policing the conversations, addressing flagged comments and even going so far as to ban some users,” Hinter wrote.

It’s not immediately clear if the Star-Ledger or other NJ.com properties also owned by Advance Publications will follow suit.

Kevin Whitmer, senior vice president of content, expansion & development at NJ Advance Media, did not respond to a message at 10:57 AM on Tuesday asking if any changes are under consideration.

Advance Publications also owns Reddit.com, a hugely popular news discussion site.

“MLive is no different than many sites, where it often feels like every story (regardless of its topic) needs only a few reader comments before it devolves into a bitter argument about Trump’s tweets, Hillary’s emails, Obama’s birth certificate or R-rated suggestions about how someone should spend the next 15 minutes,” wrote The Poynter Report senior media writer Tom Jones in his daily media newsletter.

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