WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Station Shuts Down Social Media Discussion

Jun 19, 2018

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she recently raised concerns on Macomb News Now's Facebook page when the station failed to identify the source of a story it shared.  Instead of addressing Crighton's concerns, the station deleted her comment and then contacted her, explaining it didn't want to cause a stir.  Crighton feels the station should have publicly responded to her query instead of trying to sweep her concerns under the rug.

Fellow Shop Talk panelists Rich Egger and Will Buss concur.  Egger said social media is supposed to provide a platform for (hopefully) civil discussions and it can be used by news organizations to interact with their audience.  

Egger agreed the station should have responded publicly so that others who read Crighton’s comments could learn the station’s explanation for why it didn’t identify the source of the story.

Buss said the station showed a lack of transparency by trying to dodge the issue. He said news organizations should encourage online discussions as long as the comments are not vulgar or libelous.

Buss also said this is another example of why news consumers have to be alert and check the sources of stories they read online.

Crighton said others who saw the Macomb News Now post also raised questions about the story and had their comments deleted. She said the Facebook post was eventually removed, though the story remained on the station’s website.  Crighton said she doesn’t know anyone in journalism who conducts business like Macomb News Now did in this case.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.