Do journalists have an ethical obligation to moderate online conversations generated by their stories?

By Ellen van Wageningen

By Ellen van Wageningen

Readers say the darnedest things in online comments and not all of them are appropriate. Most journalists agree that an online conversation attached to a news or feature story is not the place for name calling, malicious comments, bullying and unrelated rants. However, in the 24-hour, widely accessible online world, there is no magic formula for ensuring a civil exchange of relevant ideas and opinions. Setting the ground rules, monitoring the conversation and being engaged in it can go long way to achieving that goal, says a report by the Canadian Association of Journalists’ ethics advisory committee.

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