OK, let’s get this out into the open: some people are not going to be happy.
Effective June 1, 2015, The Galveston County Daily News will begin publishing a writer’s real name next to comments or letters posted on our digital product, www.galvnews.com.
So what is the big deal? Well, historically in the digital world writers post under assumed names or other creative handles (bubba6892 anyone?). And for the most part, this worked well while digital products grew and developed. But in today's world, with more than 1.5 million visitors a month visiting our site, we are bringing an additional level of both transparency and civility to our digital products. After all, they carry our name, are produced by the same great staff and contribute to our community. We’re proud of this role.
As the oldest newspaper in the great state of Texas, we’ve proudly published letters and comments from the community since 1842. And at the end of each letter or comment, we’ve asked writers to proudly sign their work. And it is this transparency that has led to many great discussions, as well as progress in our local communities. A person’s signature then carried a level of commitment and transparency people could trust.
Fast forward nearly 175 years and one’s name still matters.
In reality, this will only affect those subscribers who choose to participate in these forums. To the regular reader, there is no change to their reading experience beyond being able to clearly identify those offering comments.
This may be unsettling to some — and we apologize for creating this consternation. But in the end, we feel when given a choice, the public’s right to make an informed decision about one’s credibility outweighs another’s ability to hide behind a false name.
So what is in a name? At The Galveston County Daily News, plenty.