September 19, 2013 by Mike Uchalid
Recently the Bristol Press has received some media attention regarding its policy on anonymous commenting on its website. Though I do not agree with their policy, I must say the Bristol Press is an asset to the community. In this digital age it’s still important to have a local daily newspaper, yes I just said that. These local newspapers attend high school football games, they cover fundraisers and political events. They have the manpower to cover the community properly. If you’re looking for who was arrested, who died or who the hometown hero is you go to your local newspaper.
Reporters like Steve Collins a veteran journalist spends countless hours attending meetings and events. It’s definitely safe to say that if you want a complete picture of what Bristol is doing, well the Bristol Press is where you go.
Hopefully as time goes on the Bristol Press will be able to find a way to continue what it does while improving their digital image. I for one am not in favor of anonymous commenting. It reminds me of a gang of elementary school students bullying everyone else. The atmosphere is toxic.
Freedom of speech is important and everyone has the right to voice their opinion. However, unregulated comments can create an environment of negativity.
The wonderful thing about this digital age is that it allows people to post what they think is important instantaneously. But the downfall is that so many people who would never in a public setting say anything about a topic that is important to them now have an outlet to vent their emotional and passionate opinions.
What it leads to is juvenile, venomous, self-promotional or irrelevant commenting.
Bristol is so polarized online because they have always been offered the opportunity to post anonymously. While many local newspaper websites strayed away from this form of commenting Bristol did not. The Bristol Press website is an old Journal Register Company website. Back then things were different. When Michael Schroeder (who I really admirer for saving the paper) bought the Bristol Press he never changed the website.
I’ll conclude with this. The Bristol Press is definitely an asset to the community. However in this ever evolving digital age they need to consider the ramifications of anonymous commenting. When a writer sits at a council meeting for hours away from his family and then writes about what he or she heard only to have their words twisted and made irrelevant by anonymous commenting is not right. The message is lost in a sea of irrelevance.