Newspaper moderator talks about his job

There are not too many people working at US newspapers doing what Steve Swenson does for — moderating citizen participation. He’s been doing it since July 2005 and for part of that time I had a front-row seat to watch him grow into the job in a way that is authentic and vital, applying the right balance between inserting himself into debates and cracking down on bad actors.

N.L. Belardes does us all a favor by interviewing Swenson.

What my role is in relation to the world of journalism is actually a pivotal question. I’ve been a news reporter for 36 years. I’ve spent nearly all that time keeping my opinions to myself while trying to be fair and accurate.

This is different. I can share what I think. I can comment on the news and the people in it. I generally do that in a light hearted way. I like to think of myself as a paid smart aleck.

If newspaper.coms are going to be successful with citizen content and user participation, they will need more Steve Swensons — many, many more. It’s one of the most important jobs news sites need to fill. In fact, there should have been an army of Swensons in the news business a decade ago.

Good job on getting this interview, Nick. I think it’s cool that you, who has so often been so harsh on TBC, recognize the value of Steve’s job.

[tags]blogs, citizen journalism, citizen media, newspapers, journalism[/tags]

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3 thoughts on “Newspaper moderator talks about his job

  1. It’s all about evolution. I view my role in regards to the media constantly changing. People generally know I will speak my mind, and I think that has value, as does Swenson and his exciting job role, as you pointed out…

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