News comments are broken. It was a popular topic of last night’s Hacks/Hackers Seattle meetup and the driving notion behind one of the Knight-Mozilla News Challenge, which asks, “How can we reinvent online news discussions?“. Alex Schmidt, a¬†freelance reporter and producer working for NPR, Spot.Us and other outlets, has dealt with broken commenting first-hand, in a way that has negatively impacted her chances at future reporting for certain communities. This guest piece from her outlines some of those experiences and how they’ve affected the work she does.

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