Relations with the local community are just as important as subscriptions, Arne Bore continues. Dialogue with readers is one of the most important tasks of the paper.
A lot of the paper’s most valuable content comes from its relationship with its readers, he says, such as:
- Updates on community news: what’s going on, births, deaths and marriages
- Unique stories contributed by readers as part of crowd-sourcing efforts
- Enriched stories that have a "longer tail" as reader contributions allow for updates, and are higher quality when readers supply corrections
What is essential, however, when you open up a channel of communication, is to both listen and respond to readers. “If you are not responding to criticism, it will stand there unanswered,” Arne Bore warns.
It is also necessary to prevent the publication of offensive reader comments, Arne Bore says. “At the start we didn’t have the tools and resources to monitor reader participation,” he says, “and the good stuff wasn’t able to shine through.” Now, Drammens Tidende has introduced a two-tiered commenting system, whereby users must identify themselves, or their comments will be pre-moderated.
There is a fine line to be drawn, however, between filtering out the offensive and setting the bar too high, Arne Bore believes. “We don’t want to become an elitist media platform,” he stresses.