This article examines the role of user comments in evaluating the climate of public opinion. It aims to evaluate the relevance of quasi-statistical assessment of public opinion – which was tailored to traditional media – to the digital era. The article, based on 21 interviews with Israeli users of news websites, argues that comments-browsing on the Internet gives a new meaning to the notion of a quasi-statistical assessment of public opinion. The aggregation of different comments, each of which contains an implicit cue for the climate of public opinion, transforms them together into a direct cue. The effect of the merging of journalistic contents with user-generated contents side-by-side on the same website is also evaluated through the perspectives of persuasive press inference and exemplification theories.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [Grant Number 898/14].
© The Author(s) 2017.
- online news
- public opinion
- user comments