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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NPR Outsources Work To Canadian Firm: Public Radio's Comment Moderation Corps Employed By Winnipeg Outfit

 Canada Rescues Public Radio
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Isn't there an American company capable of keeping the comments civil and spam-free on NPR's website?  After all, the network was formerly known as National Public Radio and it has been nurtured by U.S. taxpayers.  Certainly NPR knows that its home country is trying to recover from the worst economic downture since the 1930s.  Still, it is outsourcing jobs to a Canadian company.  NPR's Andy Carvin announced today that ICUC Moderation Services from Winnipeg will be patrolling online commenters because public radio's own staff can't keep up with the task. Carvin is the senior strategist on public radio's social media desk. Said Carvin:

 ". . . we've reached a point that our staff is spending an enormous amount of time penalizing problem commenters rather than facilitating conversation and engaging the community.
Because of this, we've decided to ask for some help. We've now begun working with a group of professional moderators who are helping us monitor comment threads for spam and trolls. With their assistance, our news staff can now concentrate on doing what we've always intended - to use the comments for fostering intelligent dialog, finding potential sources, fleshing out story ideas and like.
For the vast majority of you, nothing will change on the site, though hopefully you'll experience fewer spam and trolls.

"The moderators we're working with, a Canadian-based company called ICUC Moderation Services, have been trained to understand NPR's commenting rules, so the same standards that applied before still apply now."

NPR gets the largest chunk of its budget from fees and dues it charges local stations that are members of the network.  They, in turn, receive federal subsidies.  In Ohio, about $1.96 million flows to the local radio stations from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is funded by Congress.  Cincinnati's WGUC-FM gets about $350,000 in federal funds. You can see all the federal grants to public broadcasters in Ohio by clicking this link. The current federal budget calls for $430 million, which is distributed between radio and television stations across the nation.

H/T Jim Romenesko who spotted Carvin's blog posting about the commenting cops from Canada.

1 comment:

  1. When it gets to the point where moderators are spending more time penalizing commentators than facilitating discussions, community moderation needs to be outsourced. However, if rogue commentators are a perennial problem, there has to be a more permanent solution, such as blacklisiting certain individuals, etc.