Scott Stanford: Last chance to Sound Off

Advertisement

Scott Stanford

Scott Stanford is general manager of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Call him at 970-871-4202 or email sstanford@SteamboatToday.com

— I have defended Sound Off numerous times. Most recently, I defended it in this space on March 30.

But after discussions with our publisher (Bryna Larsen) and city editor (Brent Boyer), I have decided that Sound Off has run its course. Sunday will be the final time we publish Sound Off comments in the newspaper. If you have something to get off your chest, call 871-4248 or e-mail soundoff@steamboatpilot.com in the next 48 hours.

We created Sound Off in January 2002, so it had a nice five-year run. I believe it served its purpose well - it engaged a segment of our readership who had something to say but did not feel comfortable writing letters to the editor. However, we have reached the point where we receive only a handful of publishable comments per week.

To all you anonymous yahoos who think you're being censored or that your rights to freedom of speech are being trampled because we are yanking the plug on Sound Off - get over it. The Pilot & Today isn't stopping you from saying or writing whatever you want. But requiring a newspaper to guarantee the publication of anonymous comments submitted to it not only is stupid, but also violates the newspaper's free speech rights.

That said, we will continue to publish pseudo-anonymous reader comments on community issues. Here's how:

The Internet has played a significant role in the decline of participation in Sound Off. When we re-designed our Web site, we added a tool that allows readers to post comments directly to the bottom of published stories. We receive far more reader comments on the Web than we do Sound Off comments.

That makes sense, because the Web site is much more user-friendly than Sound Off. There is no one to filter the comments (unless I decide the comment is inappropriate and delete it) and the reward is immediate - the post goes up right away, no waiting for the next edition of Sound Off.

Starting Jan. 6, we will publish select comments posted to stories or to the reader forum from our Web site. The comments will continue to be anonymous, but we will include the posters' steamboatpilot.com usernames. We will call the feature "From Steamboatpilot.com," include an explanation of how the comments were gathered and publish it on Page 5A in the Sunday Pilot & Today, where Sound Off currently runs.

Like Sound Off, the newspaper's editors will have sole discretion to decide what gets published in "From Steamboatpilot.com." Web users should know when they created a steamboatpilot.com account, they agreed to give the newspaper the right to republish and redistribute content they post to the Web site.

For those wondering abut the Question of the Week, it will continue in its online format, and we will continue to publish the results. But readers can no longer vote by e-mail or phone. Online participation in the Question of the Week numbers hundreds of people now that the question is in the center of steamboatpilot.com.

If you have questions about the demise of Sound Off or the new From Steamboatpilot.com feature, call or e-mail me.

Comments

Scott Stanford 7 years, 3 months ago

Boodog:

I respect your feedback, but if you look at the column, you'll see that my "yahoo" comment was directed not at all Sound Off users, but rather at those who complain they are being censored or that their rights are being violated because we don't publish their comments. If I delete a comment posted to our site or if I choose not to run a comment that someone left on an answering machine in the newspaper, it's not a violation of a person's rights to free speech. Those who would argue that it is are making, in my opinion, a laughable argument.

I have no beef with those who participated in Sound Off. Not in the least. I understood why they used Sound Off and advocated for them. It has been a successful feature for five years. But we have seen the number of participants in Sound Off shrink significantly since our new Web site re-design. Former Sound Off users, more and more, are posting their comments onto stories or creating threads in our reader forum. They have all but stopped calling Sound Off.And most of the submissions to soundoff@steamboatpilot.com are from people selling cheap Cialis prescriptions and promoting some new hot stock.

We get far more comments posted to stories on our Web site, and those comments have slightly more credibility - For one thing, they can be seen and read by online readers. Sound Off was newspaper people transcribing phone messages and e-mails. This, I think, enhances the credibility of the feature.

Boo - I don't know if you were ever a Sound Off contributor, but I suspect many of the comments you post on our site are going to make it into print now. I look forward to perusing these comments for the best of them to put into print.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4597/(970) 291-9278

0

vic 7 years, 3 months ago

LOL - Yahoos indeed - I haven't heard that term used in a long time.

0

JazzSlave 7 years, 3 months ago

boodog:

Pot, meet kettle. Yahoo seems mild to me, compared to some of the name-calling you've indulged in here - calling the City Market manager a moron, for example.

So much for your "pledge": http://www2.steamboatpilot.com/forums/open/reader_forum/70/

0

Otto_Stader 7 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for calling us stupid.

As I posted elsewhere, your agenda is obvious. If this is what "intellectual" is all about, I'll stick with ignorant.

0

kingsride 7 years, 3 months ago

I dont know if the manager at city market is a moron. I do know that the customer service lady there was the rudest person I have ever encountered in Steamboat. She is the reason i now shop at safeway. Hagd.

0

Otto_Stader 7 years, 3 months ago

When I can pull it off, I shop in Craig or Hayden. The owner of the supermart in Hayden actually says hello and THANKS you for coming in.

0

diva 6 years, 3 months ago

When is the today going to run a story about the West Routt Fire Chief being under investigation for sexual harrassment by the DA's office, the EEOC and has a civil lawsuit pending?????

0

justathought 6 years, 3 months ago

Scott, [Starting Jan. 6, we will publish select comments posted to stories or to the reader forum from our Web site], isn't that what the "best of the web" is/was? It hasn't been updated since 12/2

0

id04sp 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm a Yahoo, he's a Yahoo, she's a Yahoo, they're all Yahoos!

Wouldn't you like to be a Yahoo too?

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.