The Editor and the Troll, or What is the Future of News Comments?

The comments on a news organization’s website are a fraught space, as anyone who has read comments sections knows. Some thinkers hail comments as a democratic public space, but others decry them as hotbeds of racism and abuse. Anika Gupta, a graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will draw on her interviews with comment moderators, editors and forum managers to explore how different organizations approach the challenges and opportunities of the comments section. What are moderators’ greatest ambitions for this section, and how do they handle their worst enemies (ie, the trolls)? What kinds of discussions do they value? How do user-driven comment cultures interact with traditional journalistic practices? And what is the future of the comments section, considering that every day seems to bring more announcements of news organizations shutting down comments altogether?




November 16, 2015
10.00 am–11.00 am


66 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011