Comments, What For? User Participation and Quality of the Debate in Four European Newspapers Political J-blogs

© Media Watch 11 (2) 247-262, 2020
ISSN 0976-0911 | E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2020/v11i2/195646


Comments, What For? User Participation and
Quality of the Debate in Four European Newspapers Political J-blogs


Ainara Larrondo-Ureta, Simón Peña-Fernández,
Irati Agirreazkuenaga-Onaindia, & Koldobika Meso-Ayerdi
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain 


In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in the spaces for content written by audiences in the news media and the growing integration of such material in areas that had been reserved for news professionals until now. And, without a doubt, political issues have been one of the ones that have generated the most debate on the networks. And, without a doubt, political issues have been one of the issues that have created the most citizen participation. To contribute to this debate, the article summarizes findings of a broader project on the activity of audiences employing qualitative research of the users’ comments collected from the political blogs of,,, and As results indicate, the patterns of the audience’s participation varied across countries. Still, it coincides in that there are lower levels of dialogue between participants as well as of involvement of the authors-bloggers than expected. 


Keywords: Online media, user participation, politics, weblogs, public sphere, journalism, debate, comment




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Ainara Larrondo-Ureta (Ph.D., University of the Basque Country, Spain, 2008) is a Professor of Journalism, and she lectures in online communication and reporting. She is currently leading the consolidated research group Gureiker, funded by the Basque Government. Her main research interests cover online journalism, with expertise in media convergence, news writing, and active audiences, as well as organizational and political online communication.

Simón Peña-Fernández (Ph.D., University of the Basque Country, Spain, 2012) is a Professor of Journalism, and he lectures in online media and design. His main research interests cover online journalism, communication and social media, and social innovation. He is the Dean of the School of Social and Communication Sciences of the University of the Basque Country.

Irati Agirreazkuenaga-Onaindia (Ph.D., University of the Basque Country, Spain, 2013) is a Professor of Journalism, and she lectures in news writing, locution, and press offices.
She has been a visiting researcher at the University of Glasgow and the London School of Economics.

Koldobika Meso-Ayerdi (Ph.D., University of the Basque Country, Spain, 2001) is a Professor of Journalism, and he lectures in online communication and reporting. He is the director of the annual International Conference on Online Journalism at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain. He’s also the head of the Department of Journalism II of the University of the Basque Country.