A positive thing is happening under an SR article, and local leadership should take note that this is where local media is and should be headed.
One of the reasons I believe the commenting section of the Sandusky Register should be revamped is to encourage this type of interaction. Commenters should be encouraged to use real names (or at least civility) and trolls should be recognized and their accounts should be deleted immediately. If you want useless, anonymous snark, visit youtube. If you believe local media provides a valuable resource to the public in the way of acting as medium between government and citizens, then you should treat it with more respect and value.
There were questions raised about whether Schaeffer was being cooperative in releasing public documents regarding the relocation of Perkins townhall. The Register published their account of what happened between their reporter and Schaeffer, and like always, commenters offered their opinions of the account. Apparently, some of the comments were either unfair or outright lies.
So Diane Schaefer spent more than a few minutes on Thanksgiving Day to defend herself from the lies in the commenting section.
Her decision to post as herself raises a few questions and proves something that many local civil leaders would love to be untrue: The commenting section is read by alot of people. Sure, it may be a cesspool of nonsense by the likes of the same 3 anonymous commenters but every once in awhile there will come a Schaeffer moment when it's worth reading.
Why don't more local officials who feel wronged by coverage respond personally? Sure, this is not a traditional way to handle what one perceives as 'bad press', but a carefully worded response is probably more effective than just praying the newspaper and anonymous commenters get it right next time.
What role will the media play if more public officials begin to handle their interactions with the public directly instead of relying on a reporter to accurately quote them or follow a legitimate narrative that's worthy of coverage?
Schaefer's move should be noted and if the Register is awake and watching, they should find a way to encourage more of it. (One of which is to revamp the comments section) In the end, I think readers would gladly trade a thousand anonymous trolls for 1 upfront public official who gives their opinion and honestly tacks their name to it. That new, innovative media model would better serve the community and ensure sustainability in the constantly changing media world...