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RESEARCH

Offering Feedback

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Clyde Bentley,
My Missourian

For-profit and non-profit site operators agree that a good way to spark participation is to thank new posters. They also offer gentle critiques to posters who want to get their blog posts promoted to the front page or who lack confidence in their writing. “The very first time they write a story and we think it’s great, we’ll call them. Or we’ll make suggestions,” Travis Henry said. “We bring people to our office, they can hang out with us, we’ll give them lunch, we show them how to put out” the print edition. “These people are part of our community now.”

“I made a point of going to coffee or lunch” with regular contributors, said Barbara Bry, founding editor of Voice of San Diego.

Clyde Bentley of My Missourian advises site operators to come out from behind the e-mail. “Talk to them,” he says of contributors. Journalism students, who screen and sometimes lightly edit site posts, want to do everything by e-mail, he said. “But getting [posters] on the phone or going out and talking to them makes all the difference in the world.” Students also want to over-edit, Bentley said. The lighter touch is better.

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