Inside the FT’s approach to online comments and audience participation

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Lilah Raptopolous, community manager at the FT, explains how the newsroom approaches editorial projects and stories in a way that involves readers from the beginning

“The FT places an emphasis on comments because they are a valuable tool both editorially and commercially, she added. Editorially, they help build trust with readers, become story leads or sources, give direct feedback to FT’s reporting and connect people.

“I like to remind reporters that there are a lot of people commenting, but when you are responding to them you are not just responding to that one person but also to everyone else reading the comments. So the interactions that happen there are valuable to everyone who is quietly paying attention.”

On the commercial side, the FT’s internal audience research and reader surveys have shown “a strong link” between comments and engagement. People who write comments are, on average, seven times more engaged than those who don’t, so they spend more time on the website, read more stories and return more often.”

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