I've been at WTAP for almost three years and I cannot tell you how many times I've said "...head to our webchannel, WTAP dot com...".
Some of you may think the latter, but regardless of how many times I've said it, I mean it every time!
We love viewer feedback here at the station, both good and bad (the good more than the bad, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion).
That's why the "comment" option is available for every story you see on our webchannel. We WANT you to comment!
After reading this, some of you may be thinking "I've left a comment on a story and it never made it onto the webpage. What's going on?"
We have ONE person that approves the comments here at the station. He/she will remain nameless (but since I'm the one writing about this topic, I'm going to let you know it's not me). The person overseas all of the submissions and tries to keep us out of legal troubles etc. They are very experienced in the "news world" and are qualified to be our "Comment Commander".
So to make sure you get your voice heard, here are some comment approval tips!
1. If you left a comment that has more symbols than letters, it probably won't be approved.
*For example anything like this: #$%$#@! in place of words can be very offensive. To be fair, this is ANOTHER news outlet we provide to you, our viewers. It has our name posted on it and it needs to remain professional. If a story you see on the news gets you heated, I am sure you can find other words rather than swearing or using symbols to try and get your point across. THAT comment is likely to be approved.
2. If you left a comment that reveals a victim/juveniles name, it probably won't be approved.
*This is a big concern for us here at the station. This could cause some huge legal problems and also has the potential to ruin an innocent persons life. If the person is a victim of rape or is a child, we cannot release his/her name. Some people I feel as though do this unintentionally, but that is why your comment never made it on the webpage.
3. If you left a comment that reveals the name of an informant, it probably won't be approved.
*Yes, this really happens (it's happened dozens of times since I've been here)! I don't think I need to go into explaining why we can't post a comment that reveals an informant's name.
4. If you leave a threatening comment, it probably won't be approved.
*The threat will probably be turned into authorities as well if we feel a real concern for safety not only for us here at the station, but for anyone in the community.
5. If you leave a comment that has the potential to impede an ongoing investigation, it probably won't be approved.
*That doesn't mean it will be ignored. We take your comments very seriously and take everything into consideration. Just because your comment doesn't get posted for everyone to see doesn't mean it gets pushed under the rug. If you leave us information that may tamper with an ongoing investigation, as a news outlet we cannot release that information openly to the public. We report the news, we don't make it. But we definitely share your information/comment with authorities if we feel it's necessary to do so.
The purpose of this blog is not to get you fired up, it's actually to do just the opposite. I cannot tell you how many times we've had emails from people fired up about their comments NOT being approved. I hope that this blog offers some helpful tips that will help you express your opinion in a way that can be shared not only with our community but with anyone who logs on to our webchannel.
Thanks for continually sharing your thoughts with us! And please keep the comments coming!