Colombia Reports has made a few changes to increase interaction with its readers and hopefully break down some of the barriers that stand between those in the newsroom and those elsewhere.
Changes on the website itself
The most visible aspect is that we changed the comment section on the website. As you can see, you can now comment using your Facebook profile. This makes commenting more accessible without registering, it discourages jerky or libelous behavior by anonymous users and hopefully (for me) makes an end to the endless Chinese spammers promoting Ugg boots, insurance policies or whatever it is they’re trying to sell.
I can imagine that for some it is less comfortable to comment without the privacy protection they enjoyed before, but I did this on purpose. Each person writing for Colombia Reports does this under his or her own name, because this increases the transparency of what we do and makes us take personal responsibility for what we write. In the past it’s sometimes been very uncomfortable for the writer to expose themselves, while others hide behind anonymity. When in a debate, this causes inequality and doesn’t always make a discussion more constructive.
By the way, those that want to call us names, threaten to sue us or send death threats can still do so though our contact form.
General use of Facebook
We have been changing the way we publish articles to make sure no articles fail to appear on our Facebook page and in our Twitter feeds. This way, Facebook users have access to all articles and can comment there.
Creation of the Facebook interaction group
I created a Colombia Reports Interaction group on Facebook. To this group I added all contributors, some experts and readers. This space is created to discuss editorial choices, point out factual, spelling or grammatical errors and basically optimize the communication between the ever-changing newsroom and the ever-changing readership. Right now we have some 5,000 people on the website every day and only eight in the newsroom on weekdays. Mind you that CR is mostly a volunteer organization while among those on the website there are professionals who often simply know better than we do. If you share your personal expert knowledge this will improve and balance our reporting. If you think you have something to add to the collective knowledge used to produce this website, please join the group and share your expertise with us.
Separation of Twitter accounts
When Colombia Reports started tweeting, I made the epic fail of using my personal @adriaanalsema account for the English-language headlines and @colombiareports for Spanish-language news alerts. We are going to be changing this: my personal account will continue spamming its followers with the headlines, but I will personalize it more and express more of my opinion. The Colombia Reports account will be focusing less on Spanish-language news alerts and more on English-language news alerts as I believe that we have very little to add to what the Colombian Twittosphere already has to offer.
By the way, all of this will now be tested and if the changes do not prove an improvement we’ll just change everything back to what it was 🙂