How Reader Comments Build Connections at The Times

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In a latest interview with the late-night TV host James Corden, the singer-songwriter Lorde described how a self-imposed break from social media prompted her to search out firm in a well-liked feedback part of The New York Times.

“The first little while of not being on social media, I was so crabby, I felt so disconnected,” she stated. But now her social community is the NYT Cooking app. “I go on and I look at the comments,” she added. “That’s become a source of community for me.”

Helping readers discover that sense of connection is a part of my job. As The Times’s director of group, overseeing the workforce that moderates reader feedback on nytimes.com, I search for methods to strengthen our relationship with readers. Our workforce highlights reader responses to articles once we can and provides Times journalists insights on how their work can match our readers’ wants and pursuits.

The greatest a part of my job is seeing our journalism resonate with readers on a private degree, prompting them to share their views. Their day by day experiences add priceless context and readability to our reporting.

For instance, in Claire Cain Miller’s article about how the pandemic created a child-care disaster that disproportionately affected moms, we requested them to inform us their tales about leaving the work pressure or reducing again. The responses have been deeply shifting.

“I had to reduce my hours to help my daughters with the overwhelming challenges of remote schooling. I feel like the last decade of struggle and progress has been derailed, and the professional goals I once set for myself are not worth pursuing until my kids are out of the house. It’s like building an armor after having your heart broken,” wrote Alexis Lohse of St. Paul, Minn.

Part of our mission at The Times is to assist individuals perceive the world. Our commenters assist us meet this purpose. Comments are one of the broadly used options of the Times web site and app, and greater than 80 % are written by subscribers. Nearly 1 in 10 subscribers reads feedback every week.

Some of our greatest feedback sections are pleasant and stunning. Remember Jerry Seinfeld’s Opinion essay rebutting a declare that New York City was “dead forever” due to the coronavirus? One of one of the best issues concerning the piece was the feedback. A veteran cabdriver who wrote underneath the identify Old Yeller wrote about his favourite moments on the job.

“My favorite type of ride is the rare one of picking up a man who has just emerged from a hospital following the birth of his first child,” he wrote. “It is the best day in his life and I usually find it difficult to hide my own tears of joy as he tells me all about it.”

That response went viral on social media and prompted a whole bunch of readers to share their very own love letters to New York, and the painful moments that examined their bonds.

Reader feedback additionally play an vital position in shaping our reporting. In a latest article concerning the United States’ border closures with European nations, dozens of commenters lamented separation from family members, not realizing once they’ll be reunited. “I’m fully vaccinated and from the U.K. I haven’t seen my U.S. partner in 18 months,” wrote Millie from London. Another commenter, Kevin, from Germany, wrote this about his accomplice: “She’s vaccinated. I’m vaccinated. What more can we do? I just finally want to hug her.”

The outpouring compelled our reporter Nicholas Casey to jot down a follow-up story underscoring how the ban has, for some European households, compounded one of many deepest sorrows of the pandemic — separation itself.

Our feedback sections present an outlet for partaking in debate and dialogue in a completely moderated house, and provide readers the chance to listen to from others who’ve distinctive experiences associated to the article.

Last yr, a dentist wrote about seeing an uptick in individuals with cracked tooth. The feedback part was each revealing and painful, stuffed with readers who recognized themselves as dentists and sufferers sharing anecdotes and options for tooth grinding.

“These are some of the best recommendations for dealing with Covid stress that I’ve read anywhere,” wrote one reader.

One of the primary steps towards constructing a sturdy, engaged group is acknowledging its contributions and amplifying readers’ voices.

Shortly after Andrew M. Cuomo stepped down as governor of New York, commenters have been swift to unpack his dramatic fall. Reactions have been blended. Some talked concerning the want for extra ladies in positions of energy, whereas others felt his downfall was a step towards holding highly effective males accountable. Others praised his time in workplace, significantly in the course of the pandemic’s devastating first wave in New York.

I requested a handful of commenters for permission to spotlight their phrases on our dwelling web page and labored with our designers to offer the feedback outstanding show. Highlighting a few of these private reactions complemented our reporting and compelled different readers to affix the dialog.

So what’s subsequent for our group expertise?

We will proceed specializing in making feedback a core a part of the studying expertise and discovering alternatives to ask numerous views. Doing this helps us develop lasting relationships with our readers.

And we’ll preserve on the lookout for methods to get extra of our journalists concerned within the feedback sections. You could even hear from a reporter thinking about following up with you.

In the meantime, we’d love to listen to from you within the feedback. Tell us what you want and what we are able to do higher.

And to those that already contribute to those priceless discussions throughout the positioning, thanks for constructing our communities and enhancing our journalism.