Most people who write something in the comments field under news articles want to be joined by journalists and experts, according to Nieman Lab in an article about a comment section survey from The University of Texas (2017). It showed that:
Eighty per cent of those who comment on a news article would like to be joined by journalists who help clarify the facts.
Sixty per cent also want reporters to actively contribute to comment fields.
Comment fields as journalism need an editorial presence for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s about us stopping being megaphones – and instead co-creating journalism with the public. But it’s also about removing gross hate speech in comments, ensuring that no individual is left exposed, that gossip does not become truth and to create opportunities for people to deepen their understanding of the world without the risk of personal attacks and hatred being directed against them.
In addition, people need help to tell a good story. Similarly to when we interview someone with a microphone or pen and paper, we need to ask follow-on questions and counter questions in comment fields on social media too. It is somehow easier to develop your ideas with an opponent to bounce off.