Competition is heating up in Eastern Connecticut and the surrounding area, but not in a way that you might think. While many media outlets in that region have Facebook pages, some restrict access for commenting or leaving posts.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said “Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.”
To make my voice heard, I love to share my Patch blog entries with various media sources.
The Day, which covers all of Eastern Connecticut and owns weeklies along the shoreline like Valley Courier, The Resident, covering southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island, and Villager Newspapers, which covers the Quiet Corner (northeastern Connecticut), have blocked me from commenting.
I see their fellow readers make comments and write posts when those options are unavailable to me. On those newspaper Facebook pages, most see an icon that says “Post, photo/video” right above “write something and options to “like” or “comment” on status updates or links. They also have a “write a recommendation…” section.
An e-mail to The Day and Villager was sent requesting these permissions be turned back on. An e-mail was not sent to The Resident as the permissions were just recently turned off.
The Resident is a “good news” publication so perhaps some of my articles were out of their league.
I was a former reporter for The Villager and Resident.
In the e-mail I stated, “Blog posts I have included were intended to help educate your readers, often about topics that your publication was unable to cover. Whether it was about highway service plazas, local shopping malls, or a business grand opening; they are all topics that are of interest to the general public. I am asking to receive full privileges back on your Facebook page. Blocking me from contributing is a form of censorship, which is against the basic principal of journalism: informing the public and giving everyone a voice. I thank you for your time, let’s work together to encourage the freedom of speech, a unique right in this country.”
Villager never responded to my request. The Day did send an e-mail back.
“The Day’s Facebook page is an extension of our brand and we carefully monitor what is posted there, as it reflects on us. We do not allow advertisements or postings from our competitors, of which Patch is one,” said Jennifer Sammons, Digital News Director of The Day.
These media sources regard the competition as such a threat, they won’t allow posts on their Facebook page. They should embrace an open marketplace of ideas and eliminate their Communistic practices.
One of my friends has told me that The Day does not like Patch. Perhaps because Patch has sites in many of the same towns The Day serves including East Haven, Branford, Madison, Clinton, Waterford, New London, Groton, Stonington, Montville, and Ledyard.
These publications are responsible for reporting the truth. I question how ethical it is to remove posts that educate readers when they are unable to properly the towns they serve.
With company downsizing, articles that would have been covered by these outlets are not, but you won’t read that story in any newspaper.
Also, the Internet is supposed to embrace the freedom of speech, our basic 1st Amendment right, not suppress it.
I give credit to most Eastern Connecticut and surrounding area media outlets who have allowed me to post my blogs.
These publications include the Norwich Bulletin, lymeline,com, Shoreline Times, Mystic River Press, Reminder Newspapers, Middletown Press, and Westerly Sun.
Eastern Connecticut radio stations include WBMW in Ledyard, Q105 in New London, I-98 in WIllimantic, and WINY Radio in Putnam.
Those who make unsubstantiated allegations, discriminatory comments, rude remarks, and offensive language, understandably should be denied the right to comment on Facebook pages.
However, those who are trying to educate the public should be allowed to do so.
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, ” We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television – by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice.”