• Show Notes

Dear Reader, 

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons depicts two dogs sitting at a computer with one saying to the other, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” 

This image came to mind recently when one of my hometown newspapers, The Detroit Free Press, announced it would no longer post reader comments on its website. In a letter to readers, Editor Nicole Avery Nichols explained the decision was necessary “due to the time investment needed to produce a safe and constructive dialogue.” The real culprit, I believe, is anonymity. 

Reader comments became commonplace when news outlets went online in the 1990s. The idea for such comments is laudable. Members of the community may engage with writers, editors, and each other to discuss a matter in the news, adding to the discussion the perspectives of other voices and experiences.