Commentary

No More 'Ugliness' at Cincinnati Enquirer

By Susan Jones | November 28, 2011 | 10:31am EST
Starting next week, the Cincinnati Enquirer will require readers wishing to comment on its reports to do so through their Facebook accounts.

The Gannett-owned newspaper will no longer allow anonymous comments. Using Facebook, it says, is the best way to ensure that people use their real names.

The newspaper says it receives lots of online comments that give it a sense of the "community mood" and allow it to address questions or misunderstandings in its reporting.

"Unfortunately, as regular readers know well, the cover of anonymity has encouraged a few readers to engage in some pretty ugly behavior," Enquirer Editor Carolyn Washburn wrote at Cincinnati.com on Sunday. "Some stories so regularly engender nasty comments that we quit allowing comments on them at all. Why people add vile comments on stories about tragedies involving children is beyond me."

Washburn said the goal is to allow readers to sound off without "ugliness."

"I hope and believe that this change will encourage even more of you to engage, because you know you are coming to a place of transparent and civil conversation. And that is nothing but good news for our community," she wrote.

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