“‘I’m convinced that newspapers need to rise up and take responsibility not just for the quality of the news, but for the quality of the conversation,”
This is totally true, and actually reflects a significant change in what a news story (or, for that matter, a blog post) actually is. Rather than think of a story as a single finished article, think of it as part of a network of the story, it’s comments, and the comments and posts that it spawns across the web. As a writer, you write the story: but you also act as something like a curator for the conversation across the web, too.
A story is no longer a single page: it is a network of pages.
Relating this back to my post the other day, about how self-correction in blogging is a vice, not a virtue, this raises a simple question: is the job of a “journalist” is not just to write the story, but to tend and curate comments and discussions wherever they exist on the web?
I think that might well be the way things are heading. This then means going back to rework the original post in the light of the ongoing discussion, but also planting “seeds” into other nodes of discussion, too.
And here’s the bad part for publishers: this is time consuming, and expensive, but it’s also the only way to be truly step beyond the one-way model of “broadcast” journalism we’ve all grown up with.