Tuesday, October 02, 2007

News researcher's last story, and newspaper comments

There's a quiet news announcement on the newslib group about the death of Oregonian researcher Lovelle Svart, whose dying from lung cancer has been chronicled on the newspaper's web site. Said Oregonian news research director Gail Hulden:
She was a researcher of the very highest quality who contributed to many of The Oregonian's best projects. She was one of three researchers who worked tirelessly on Liberty's Heavy Hand, The Oregonian series that won the Public Service Pulitzer in 2001.
Her story, including her choice to end her life legally, is told in words and video in Living to the End.

In the Miami Herald the other day, and in many other papers, Leonard Pitts' column on what has happened to civilized discussion on newspaper web sites, including The Herald's. South Florida seems particularly prone to crude discourse, especially in the comments sections, and the paper has had to edit comments in many cases, particularly in stories involving race or ethnicity. Stories about the charter boat whose crew went missing last week, for example, teemed with comments about the crew and their families that had to be deleted. What a shame. Says Pitts:
For some people, freedom and anonymity are always an invitation to sink like an anchor to the lowest common denominator. Which is distressing until you consider the alternative.
After all, they don't have this problem in Cuba
This column has elicited a lively bunch of comments, too, pro and con, from readers around the country.

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