U-T San Diego has decided to seek outside help in monitoring its comment sections. It will outsource responsibility for its comment boards to a moderation service.
San Diego CityBeat got a hold of the memo:
Comment moderation: We have hired an outside company to monitor our comments 24/7, hiding comments that do not meet our standards. Reporters will be getting emails from the moderators at ICUC Moderation services alerting them to comments that may warrant their attention. You don’t have to respond to these moderators, but thanking them or letting them know of any action you take will help them get used to how we operate and welcome them to the family. This is a major step we expect will further refine the tone and content of the comments without hindering their flow. This does not replace the need for reporters to read the comments and, when called for, to interact with the commenters on their stories.
As CityBeat notes, the U-T isn’t the first media outlet to outsource its comment moderation. The San Francisco Chronicle and NPR also use ICUC. The U-T has had some high profile disasters in its comment section since Douglas Manchester took control of the paper late last year. So farming out the moderating duties is probably a good idea until it gets the rest of the paper in order.