Monday, February 06, 2006

Readers can’t wait to participate

If you’re like me, you watch the “comments” link on blogs and forums for some idea of how popular an item is, or how much it resonated with the audience.

Well, how about this feature on the Anchorage Daily News site, where the comments on the last four items totaled 56, 77, 84 and 77.

Not bad, huh?

The item is “Name That 'Toon,” featuring a drawing by ADN editorial cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl for which readers submit proposed captions. Not only do scores of readers send in suggestions each week, they also read through the forum and comment on one another’s proposals.

A description of the process, from their website:

How this works: Each Wednesday we'll publish an Alaska-themed political cartoon that's begging for a caption.

Your mission: Supply a fitting punch line. Click on 'add new comment' at left to submit a caption and watch this page to see captions submitted by others. A panel of cartoon connoisseurs will select the winner. Judges will consider wit, aptness and originality. The winning caption and two runners-up will be published in Sunday's paper in the Opinion section and the winning caption will also be published online, along with the author's name. (Sorry, Daily News employees and relations, you're ineligible to win.)

What other features generate lots of reader reaction for you?


  1. I ran a tongue-in-cheek Sunday column a few weeks ago that included a fake feedback form. But many readers took it seriously and mailed it in with real comments and complaints.

    We received so many that we're now going to come up with a legitimate form for reader feedback. We're discussing running it as a house ad, distributing it to subscribers as an insert, and making the forms available at community events where the Bee has a booth.

  2. I've tried to set this up so that every time a new comment is added to our discussion blog, you will get an email notice so you can go check it if you want to.

    What I'm doing is simply automating the process of forwarding the notification that comes to me as blog administrator. If you see this in your email, then it worked.


    P.S. Obviously, I can remove you from the list if you don't want to get these notices. Just let me know.

  3. One small point on this is the power of hooking to a hot story. The cartoon furor is clearly a good topic for an editors column. We put one together today that both explains the paper's thinking and also draws on some of the readers comments that have come in this week. We'll be watching to see whether the reaction is strong on this.