Wally Wonders Why

No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

Is “Join the Conversation” a dangerous trend?

The Bellingham Herald has recently started allowing comments on almost all its online articles. Just a few weeks ago I was all for this trend as a way to open up and hear public opinions. Why not get various opinions out in the open. It’s the blog experience. The concept seems to have evolved though, with Dean Kahn’s Join the Conversation, where comments are the article rather than comments in conjuction with the article. With todays Join the Conversation: Should state law require paid time off for family leave? I’m beginning to doubt whether this trend is entirely positive.

Today’s Conversation asked what we thought about the proposed legislation for taxpayer funded family leave. Here is the background information provided.

Under a bill in the Legislature, workers could receive up $250 a week for up to five weeks while caring for a new child or a sick family member.

Workers would fund the program by paying a premium of 2 cents per hour worked, up to 40 hours a week. All workers and employers would have to participate, regardless of the size of the company.

To put the $250 in perspective, someone working full-time at minimum wage earns about $317 a week, before taxes.

This Conversation would be a nice companion to an informative article on the proposed legislation. There is a lot more to the issue than just this snippet. The bill was introduced by the Democrats so do the Republicans have an opinions? Why do many out there use the words initially right in front of the $250, is there a planned expansion? California is one of only a few states that have done this, how has it worked out?

I have my doubts about Join the Conversation and other mostly comment articles because it seems to be trending towards replacing fact gathering, reporting, and articles with public opinion. And that opinion is growing less and less informed as articles lose their substance.

1 Comment

  1. Wally, I LOVE reading your comments in response to the various topics the Herald publishes…….Always excellent reading and obviously well thought out……Glad to have found your site!

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