Monday, August 29, 2011

NJMG restricts readers' comments

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North Jersey Media Group, which publishes The Record and Herald News, is restricting comments on to readers who use social media and identify themselves.

The unannounced change was made last week. Before that, readers who registered with the online news site could comment using a pen name or other alias.

It's unclear whether readers without a Facebook account can comment on stories and columns.

Eye on The Record can only speculate on why the change was made.

In the past, criticism of Road Warrior Columnist John Cichowski has been withering. 

Critics have focused on his often inaccurate reporting and advice, and on how he has strayed far from his column's mission of going to bat for all commuters, not just drivers.

In general, comments on northjersey were civil, but there were a number of unhinged individuals who attacked each other viciously.

The Record of Woodland Park and other newspapers will only print letters from readers who provide their full name and town, and provide a telephone number for confirmation.

Eye on The Record received this comment last week:

Anonymous said...
What is the story with the site and it's new set-up for posting comments? Please let your readers know about the facts and your opinions of this issue in one of your future articles. It appears the old Comments posting system was eliminated this week sometime around Wednesday. It appears that all comments, which were posted with previous news articles, are no longer viewable. It appears that one can no longer log in to with their existing username, which typically was anonymous, in order to post comments. When clicking on the "Most Commented" tab, it no longer shows a list of articles. The "Most Read" and "Most E-mailed" tabs still bring up a list of articles. It appears that the new system requires you to have a Facebook account and log in to Facebook before you can post a comment. Currently, all comments appear to be only from Facebook users. Obviously, posting anonymously is much more difficult since most people with Facebook accounts use their own names, along with their pictures. It seems that the Record may have gotten tired of allowing some of the anonymous posted comments, which in some people's opinions may have been objectionable or controversial. While this new policy may be politically correct and an attempt to weed out the "controversial" anonymous individuals, who posted, I believe that it is a bad policy since it will restrict free speech and the free flow of information, will invade people's privacy by opening their Facebook accounts to unwanted public scrutiny by others, and force people, who have absolutely no interest in joining Facebook or any of the other social media sites due to concerns about privacy and identity theft. The number of posted comments with this new system has dramatically decreased. If you happen to find out anything that dramatically contradicts the facts that I have stated, I would appreciate an individual response to me. Otherwise, feel free to take the lead and alert your readers to this new situation.


  1. This was a welcome change in my opinion, prior to this was a hangout for hang mongers to spit their poison from behind a mask.

  2. I guess you meant to write "hate mongers."


  3. What a great blog! Finally I can post my reactions to stories I read. I used to be able to, but I refuse to use Facebook to log in to any website. Actually one day there was a discussion about illegal immigrants and I voiced my opinion. I said nothing inflammatory or untrue.(Perhaps my comment was a bit of a generalization, but it was NOTHING compared to what I have read by others)...I complained and here was the response--

    "I forwarded your e-mail below to our web editor and I have been informed that the user “ABC123” was banned from posting on because of the following comment that was deemed in violation of our Terms of Service:

    Illegals go home, all you do is come here to take. You don't abide by our laws, multiply like rabbits and don't bother to learn English. Anchor babies are not accepted in ANY OTHER COUNTRY.

    Thank you,
    Christopher Miller

    And so, I am forever banned from making comments at North Jersey Media Group.
    And I have to agree there is some terrible writing going on over there. That food writer writes like a 15 year old. Keep up the good work. I don't know who they think they are silencing the comments they don't like.

  4. Yes hate mongers, sorry. I have to be honest a lot of the comments that were put up on that site made me sick. Anytime there was a crime committed in Paterson for example the local bigots would come out in flocks to proclaim how the folks in the inner cities are animals and far beneath them. There was even a woman who posted using her own Facebook account stating her middle class friends in their 30s were all now bartenders and could not afford children or homes yet she saw "minority women" with "5 kids".

  5. To Anonymous:

    Sweeping generalizations, such as the ones on illegal immigrants, are dangerous and usually wildly inaccurate.

    This is a country of immigrants -- illegal and legal -- and nothing will ever change that.

  6. Victor, the Facebook-only comment section is actually rolling out across many newspaper websites. It's been widely reported and debated.

  7. OK, thanks.

    It looks like one Gannett paper is testing it for 60 days and another has adopted it.

    I think NJMG should have announced the change at

    Plus, it should acknowledge it did a poor job of monitoring the site, allowing vitriol, racism and hate-mongering to flow freely.

  8. @Victor E. Sasson.
    Pardon my sweeping generalization. (dangerous?!)
    I think it's far more dangerous to allow anybody on earth free citizenship without going thru a thorough legal process. I don't want their "culture" everywhere I look. We are paying their health care and schooling (Where they learn English.) They don't sit around and think, "Can we afford another baby?" Get your head out of the sand. In this area especially, there simply is not enough room. Or jobs. And don't tell me that safety isn't also an issue--These illegal aliens, for the most part, don't read or write English--How can they read road signs and drive safely? The police should be able to enforce immigration laws that are already in place. And how ignorant of you to state "nothing will ever change that". Sounds as if you gladly accept defeat. As for logging on to sites with facebook, that is what a lot of lazy people will do. Fools. Have you read the terms of service Facebook has? You basically agree that anything you post will never be private, all your personal information is accessible to anyone at all.

  9. I don't "accept defeat."

    I celebrate immigration. This country would suck if the only people living here had your attitude and prejudices.

  10. Without immigration you wouldn't have a family. What a great country.

  11. Without immigration, I wouldn't be here.

    Yes. It's a great country.

  12. There is a bit of a difference between "immigration" and "illegal immigration"...A HUGE difference. My family did it the right way, in fact thru Ellis Island. They learned English and worked. They worked HARD for their family to make it in the USA, and now, it's just a grab all you can get game, and we will suffer for it, not to mention our children and their children. Too bad you had to resort to this blog because they didn't like your upside down logic at the newspaper Victor. I wish you weren't here. I hate seeing signs in "spanish" in the stores and having to press 1 to continue in English. The immigrants who can't speak English should have to wait till the end of the message for their preferred language if they are legally here...if not...DEPORT !!!!

  13. Get over it. If that's all you have to worry about, you're lucky.

  14. As part of this new “benevolent” Record policy, how about if the Record staff agrees that every reporter/columnist post their personal Facebook page address with their latest picture (even if they do not want to be on Facebook and be exposed to unwanted privacy intrusions, hacking, and marketing) for each of their online stories. That way we can have full disclosure of Record’s staff with their friends, families, interests, whether they are married, where they live, where they work, where they went to school, sexual preferences (optional), pictures of them with families and friends (optional), and their Facebook comments/communications (optional). Why would they object to such an open “fair” policy if they are asking their readers to comply? All those at the Record staff, who would also decide by themselves or in a joint staff decision, whether a certain reader making comments would be banned or admonished under this new Facebook posting policy, would have to disclose their Facebook page address with their latest picture so the accused would be able to know just as much about their Record accuser(s). Of course, the Record would never go along with this because the RECORD OWNERS AND THEIR STAFF ARE HYPOCRITES AND ILLOGICAL and believe they don’t have to follow the same rules of fairness and truth!! Could you imagine if the government told all citizens that they must be on Facebook and disclose their personal lives if they wanted to comment about anything to anyone in public? Why would anyone protest if it’s all for everyone’s “good”?

  15. The owners and editors of The Record and most other newspapers have different standards for themselves and their readers.

    Publisher Stephen A. Borg and his yes man, Editor Francis Scandale, would never open up the editorial process to outsiders.

  16. Look, the site is free. Nobody is forced to comment. You are obliviously unaware of the fact that it does take money to support the hardware and software required to facilitate commenting. Complaining about requirements imposed by a commenting system which is provided to you for free is simply moronic. If you don't like the publisher, the site or the commenting system simply forget about it and go on your way. What is with your obsession with a free product which nobody is forcing you to use in the first place? I can only imagine how much time the blog author spends running this blog and obsessing about people who obviously don't care about him one bit. My advice to the author: life is short, spend your time on something positive and stop wasting it on your obviously unhealthy obsession with other people's money.

    P.S. I don't see this blog allowing comments without the author's approval. In fact i bet this comment gets thrown out as well. Victor seems to only listen to those who agree with him.

  17. This Facebook thing sucks


If you want your comment to appear, refrain from personal attacks on the blogger. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. Keep your racism to yourself.