One of the great promises of the new media is that editors will be able to seed the ground with a few substantial stories and then let the readers comment on the stories, add their own perspectives, and then watch those comments yield succeeding rounds of free (!) editorial comment.

It hasn’t worked out, not by a long shot. But that doesn’t mean that valuable contributions are never posted online. This week we were pleasantly surprised to read two informative comments posted to our stories online at

The first was made in reference to our October 12 Fast Lane story on Princeton Internet Marketing (PIM), a company that helps other companies maximize their exposure online and come up as high as possible on Google searches. Another part of PIM’s services is to offset negative comments posted online against its clients. That led to this comment from a reader:

“PIM offers a service called reputation management. ‘The negative comments can be stuffed to page 10 in Google, because there are 10 pages of positive comments.’

“Isn’t this just a process of eliminating possible truthful reviews? If a company is genuinely at fault for a service issue, is it ethical to fill up Google results with false positive comments just to shush up an actual customer service failure? No. Not at all.

“What happens to the consumer trying to choose a company in that industry, and makes a decision based on lies? They choose a company that doesn’t own up to its mistakes, but one that just has money to make a problem go away.

“It is sickening that this is a practice, and a public one at that!”

Another online reader, Mary Kellogg, commenting on our September 21 cover story on artist Lonni Sue Johnson, and her battle to overcome a serious brain injury, posted the following:

“I was impressed by Lonni Sue Johnson and enjoyed her work from both before and after her illness. It is amazing what can be learned from her in every way.

“Is there a way to purchase copies of her work from the exhibit? I could not find anything at the Walters [Art Museum at Johns Hopkins University, where Johnson’s work is now on display]. Thank you for the inspiration, Lonni Sue Johnson!”

In a follow-up E-mail exchange, we learned that Kellogg is a resident of Emmittsburg, Maryland. After seeing the exhibit in Baltimore, she discovered U.S. 1’s article online. “It is fascinating to see what an awesome amount she can teach the world about self, personality, resiliency, art, and creativity. So often theory becomes outdated and the true essence and strength of life become unfathomable,” Kellogg wrote.

“Just because you cannot find the right word, does not mean that you do not know what you want to say. There are so many more ways to communicate than words. But in our world the lack of words is so devastating.”

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