Journalists and public discourse

I was involved in a discussion recently about whether journalists should be allowed to comment on news stories. My employer, the Lawrence Journal-World, allows the public to comment on online stories. Quick note: while I may work for the newspaper my experience with journalism at the time of this post is very informal. I am a member of the public, which in my opinion makes this opinion just as valid as any.

Journalists have an obligation to participate in the public discourse so long as they adhere to the principles of journalistic (http://www.journalism.org/resources/principles) integrity. The delivery of news over an interactive medium allows for a closer relationship between a journalist and their audience. Why should a journalist end a story at the last sentence? Journalists sort through a variety of data to form their story which makes their participation essential in discussing or correcting the presented, edited data.

Journalism’s purpose is to strengthen communities. Journalist forum participation not only enhances a story, it bridges the perceived gap between journalist and reader. I would even bet that over time it would increase participation and readership.