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Voice of OC is moving to spur reader engagement on local social platforms in an effort to gain more insights and encourage broader discussion.

Starting today, in place of comment fields following each story, readers will be encouraged to:

  • Join the open dialogue on our Facebook page where every day, active members of the community engage around our stories, sharing differing perspectives, asking probing questions and exchanging ideas.
  • Message us directly via our website contact form, our Twitter feed or reaching out to any staff member directly with general news tips, questions and ideas.
  • Send us anonymous news tips as we offer a variety of safe and secure options on our website.
  • Contribute ideas directly by sending in a community opinion post.

“Our founding principle remains our guiding light: to offer residents timely and useful information about their local community, with the aim of fueling participation and debate,” said Norberto Santana, Jr., Voice of OC publisher editor-in-chief.

“This shift ensures that our limited resources remain focused on producing original news content about Orange County’s civic life and enabling more reader engagement as opposed to just comment moderation,” Santana said.

The shift away from comments on articles to social media channels also increases the opportunity for an even wider community conversation that is not limited to people who already know, trust and read Voice of OC.

In addition, removing comments from our news articles improves how fast each article loads — from 8 seconds, down to 2.

Voice of OC also operates a vibrant Community Opinion section, the one place in Orange County where a diverse grouping of residents, elected officials, activists and topic experts all come together to discuss a wide array of community issues. This section reaches people who influence and make important decisions in the community. Community residents writing in the section have already created a staggering list of concrete policy impacts, including grand jury investigations, construction of a $35 million animal shelter and have even been cited in federal court cases on homelessness.

Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think about our shift around community discussion — we’re all ears.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.