Southern Thing Column

9 things journalists wish commenters knew

Yes, I went there. I am inviting more comments with my column on online commenters and trolls. The link at the bottom of this excerpt will take you to the full column on

I decided I need to do my part in fostering better communication. To start the discussion, I am writing nine things I, and probably many journalists, wish commenters knew. Feel free, as always, to give your opinion in the comments section or by emailing I promise to read them and take the ones that don’t contain death threats seriously.

1. I love interacting with readers. Really. I enjoy seeing what you have to say and getting involved in the discussion. I want to know if anyone alerts me to a typo or factual error so I can fix it, or see if a reader has questions about the content. Journalists really do hate having errors beneath our names, believe it or not. When I write a humor column, I want to see if I made anyone laugh, which makes my day. Because of that, I typically monitor the comments section for at least the first day a post is published. After years of writing about murders, corruption and tornado devastation, I now write mostly features on quirky Alabama history and roadside attractions. Because of that, you might think the comments I get are fairly innocuous, alas, that is not the case. I have had people wish I would lose my job, fall off a cruise ship (true story) or be the victim of bad karma in general.

2. I am a real, live human being with the four Fs: family, friends, feelings and fondness for Channing Tatum. I am not a faceless corporate entity.  … click here to read the full column on

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