From the Journal Times:
"Earlier this week The Journal Times covered the tragic suicide death of Benjamin Scharding, a Prairie School sophomore who was hit by a train near his home. The story was posted to our web site and over the next three days drew several dozen comments. Some of the comments offered condolences to the family and friends and had kind words to say about Ben and his talents. But many comments were insensitive to Ben’s memory, his family and his classmates. Our editors deleted several comments from the web site, but comments in that vein continued and we began reviewing whether the story and comments should remain up on our web site.
"On Friday morning We removed the comments from our web site and we are sorry that we did not do it sooner. We apologize to Ben’s family and classmates for allowing some of the coarse and insensitive comments."
The above was in yesterday's print edition of the Journal Times, but I didn't see it until this morning. I saw the story on the suicide last week and read it, but didn't read the comments. I mean, what's there to say?
After reading the above, I checked the Journal Times blog section (it has changed) to see if anything was posted on the subject. I found the following, apparently posted by another reader/commenter: http://my.journaltimes.com/post/GinaB/blog/warning_this_blog_is_about_the_events_surrounding_the_recen.html. What I still don't see, though, is any attempt by the Journal Times to communicate with its bloggers. Why don't they just ask people why they leave rude and insensitive comments? They just might learn something. Instead, they continue with the wizard-behind-the-curtain act, issuing proclamations and denunciations like they exist in some sort of bubble above the fray of day-to-day life in Racine. Indeed, that's been their problem all along.
I'm not making excuses for cowardly comments left on a story about a tragedy. But if the Journal Times is going to continue to allow comments on their website, they are going to have to deal with the web's fundamental and fierce democracy - some might even call it anarchy. I know it's not pretty; reality often isn't. However, I'd much rather deal with reality than fog my brain with a dream world of the Journal Times' making. I live and breathe in the real Racine, Wisconsin, not Lee Enterprises' version of it.