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GOOGLE NEWS ADDS PARTICIPANT COMMENTS

May 17, 2008

The shift is happening… Major news websites are beginning to allow readers to post comments to news articles making information sharing more participatory. As of mid 2007 Google joined in, but with a twist:  Google only allows actual participants in the story to post comments. Comments are published in full, without any edits. They are marked as “comments” so readers know it’s the individual’s perspective, rather than part of a journalist’s report.

Google News story with a participant comment

Example of a news link on http://www.google.com/news that includes a participant comment.


google_news_comment_page1.gif

Example of a news article showing the comment posting.


What does this mean to Corporate Communication teams?

PROS: Adding a comment to a news story can …

  • Provide a mechanism to correct misinformation and show a different point of view.
  • Allow for a relatively quick and far-reaching response particularly in a crisis situation.
  • Become highly searchable content that can improve your company’s search engine rankings.
  • Allow you to direct readers to alternative content by adding a link within your comment.

CONS: Adding a comment to a news story can …

  • Draw more undue prominence to stories that you may prefer not to be widely distributed.
  • Encourage additional negative dialogue.
  • Includes some lag time since the service is managed manually.

How do I post a comment?

Send an email to news-comments@google.com with the following information:

  • Name, title, organization, and connection to the story
  • Link to the story they are commenting on
  • Comment
  • Links can be included, although they will not be hyperlinked when published
  • Images and videos can be submitted, but only if they are critical to the response. However, Google will font not accept attachments via email, so any images and/or videos submitted must be submitted as links.
  • Contact details including email address and phone number
  • Method to confirm identity – this may include a return email address, a Web site with your bio and email address, or business phone number
  • Google specifically requests very clear instructions be provided to confirm your email address / identity

The full text of Google’s guidelines around submitting comments to news stories is available at:
http://www.google.com/support/news/bin/topic.py?topic=12285

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