Speaker Q&A: Jessica Reed,’s Comment is Free

In our latest speaker Q&A we ask Jessica Reed, editorial assistant for the Guardian’s Comment is Free site, about her job and what it involves. Prior to joining the Guardian she worked as a participation editor for non-profit human rights and democracy news site openDemocracy, where she was responsible for contributing blogs and bloggers. At news:rewired Jessica will be talking about her experiences of handling user comments and contributions for Comment is Free and managing online communities.

So what exactly do you do for the Guardian?
Editorial assistant, blogger and Twitter contact person for Comment is free, our comment site. I do ed assistant duties, keep in touch with our readers on threads and via Twitter, sometimes commission and write for the site.

Can you give a bit of information about your career to date? How did you end up where you are?
I studied political sciences in France, worked for 2.5 years at the global affairs website as participation editor and joined Guardian News and Media two years ago.

What have you learnt about online confrontations or dealing with blogger backlashes?
One will always regret losing one’s temper, but will never regret keeping calm. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What do you feel are the most exciting social or multimedia developments made at the Guardian?
Loving that we each have the space and the encouragement to experiment with so many social media tools – Twitter being the most interesting case study so far (#trafigura comes to mind), but not only (collaboration tools are also great, see the help we got from readers during MP’s expenses scandal).

What are the biggest challenges day-to-day?
Being able to guess what our readers want, striking the right balance between editorial decisions and editorial engagement with readers.

What advice would you give to students thinking about working with newspaper online communities?

What? You mean y’all don’t have a blog and a Twitter account already? 🙂

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