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Posted on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Jen Eyer named Director of Audience Engagement at

By Tony Dearing


Jen Eyer, who has served as Community Director at since last fall, has been named to the position of Director of Audience Engagement.

In her new role, she will oversee our social media efforts and play a lead role in comment moderation. She also will monitor site traffic and help identify ways we can do a better job of engaging the community. That would include helping us to continue to increase the number of people who are registered on the site, who sign up for our newsletters and who follow us through social media.

In addition, she will oversee project management for new content features on the site, and help us upgrade the Community Wall, which is the area on the site where we welcome community members to post information, news tips or questions.

Jen has been with us since the early days of, first as a community assistant and then as Community Director. She has excelled in every role. We are lucky to have someone of her talents, and going forward, she will play an even more important role in helping us serve the community.

A graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism, Jen has worked as a newspaper reporter, and for several years was senior news producer at, coordinating online content for affiliate newspapers. She lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two children, and is active in the community.


Ken Boyd

Thu, May 19, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Jen, I recently had a post of mine removed by you because it compared MADD to a jihadist organization which you said was offensive. I agree, and apologize for the post. The jihadist' may be offended by such a comparison.


Mon, May 2, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.

Jen - Couple of suggestions about the comments: First of all, I like the ability to vote for the comments. I also like the top three posts (by vote) appearing right after the article. Those were good changes. Has considered letting people have the ability to vote FOR and AGAINST posts? This might have value both for surveying the sentiment of the readers and for determining the top posts. Maybe this would result in a Thumbs Up "number" and a Thumbs Down "number" or maybe it would result in an overall score... Will Warner made an interesting point about voting for the comments. I like that idea. Here's another thought... now that there is a "reply" feature to the comments, there are less occurrences where the sequence in which the comments appear is important. Previously, it was necessary to have comments appear in sequence because many participants would comment back and forth in response to posts. Now, they can have this dialog (which is typically "snarky" and will be fun for you to moderate) within the replies to the initial comment. I think that it might be valuable to randomize the sequence in which the comments appear (instead of having them be chronological). This would limit the inherent bias caused by the first to respond to the article getting a disproportionate amount of attention, and therefore, a disproportionate amount of votes. -- This suggestion might make it annoying for those who are revisiting and want to see new posts, but perhaps the cookie (or whatever uses) could identify computers that have already visited the site and/or article and keep the sequence of the posts that the reader previously viewed the same. Just some thoughts...


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 6:26 a.m.

Try not to be to controling in the mediation department though or you will end up with 5 posters or is that what you people want?

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

What's the saying "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you strong"? You must have qualities that make you right for the post - like common sense, reasonableness, good humor, a certain degree of toughness and God knows, girl, you've got guts. This is a nit-picky territory, but I think you've already discerned that. Best wishes.

Jen Eyer

Sun, May 1, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Thanks, Elaine!


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Jen, Congrats! You have a hard job and handle it well. The most important thing you can do is not take criticism personally. You seem to do a good job with that. Good luck and most importantly, enjoy your job! Cash

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Thank you, Cash. I appreciate it!


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Congrats: I see the posted comments are another indication of (some) the readers not quite understanding the job. Focusing on the 'editing' of comments is self not community. The changing landscape of news, both local, national, and international because of instant exposure makes everyone an opinionator. Expanding the the coverage of local activities, providing some in depth reporting of local interests, and keeping an emphasis on the diversity human activities (in my opinion) create more interest The balacing of fairness requires a professional journalist. Continue with your efforts and results. Tom

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

Thanks, Tom, for your thoughtful comments.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Jeez... a lot of bitterness toward Ms. Eyer. Moderating comments with anonymous posters is always a rewarding experience. I think Ms. Eyer deserves some slack. Besides, she looks cute in her photo.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

Thank you, A2Realilty.

Will Warner

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

All unmoderated sites are a complete waste of time. If this one were to go unmoderated, I would stop reading it. Beyond that I can't say whether those complaining here about disappearing posts have grounds. I've seen some taken down to be "reviewed" because they made very pointed and uncomfortable observations about issues. And there was one weekend when a lot were deleted for what was probably a misunderstanding of the rules by whomever was on duty; at some point, all those post were restored. Of course, some people don't seem capable of writing posts that don't begin or end with an insult to another poster, so there are a lot of borderline cases. I'm sure you know by now that certain types of stories present moderation challanges -- tragic death stories, for example. Maybe don't permit comments on those. On a technical note, I recommend you disable the ability to vote for any on the top three where they appear as the top three because I think that makes it too easy for them to remain the top three. People can vote for those posts as they happen across them in the thread, if they still wish to by the time they find them.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

Will: That's a great point about the voting. I'll talk to our tech team about it. Thanks!

Mike D.

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

Agreed. The top 3 are nearly always just the first 3. So you get the people with nothing better to do than be the first to post speaking for the whole community.

Alan Goldsmith

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 10:29 a.m.

Congrats on your promotion. I fondly remember the insulting comment you emailed me about my integrity when you pulled one of my posts.

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, May 1, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

I guess the worry about 'outright false information' doesn't extend to articles when quoting the Mayor and members of Council? But I do respect you didn't pull this post. Thank you.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

Alan, I told you that "we take down posts that contain outright false information whenever we are aware of them." I did not say that you knew it was false. Therefore, I don't see it as an insult to your integrity.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 4:16 a.m.

Congrats Jen; Since you appear to be reading this, maybe you can respond to my email from this afternoon about why my posts were taken down. Thanks.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

Thanks, EyeHeartA2. I just emailed you.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

I never check the e-mail account I registered with because I can't. I wonder what kind of e-mals are out there in no mansland waiting for me to find them. Can we bring Lon out of his timeout? Its golf season now and he was the only one on your staff who got the game of golf.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

If you email me (, I can change the email address associated with your account.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

Congratulations, Ms. Eyer! I will echo the comment that what I think we all would like is for the content of the site to continue to evolve. Original, well-researched articles to balance the reporting of meetings and opinions provided would be helpful. In this era of instant (mis)information, it would be a breath of fresh air. Best wishes!

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

Thank you, 1bit. Rest assured, those are our goals too!


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

Oh, Goodie someone to make up even more outragous headlines to drive page views. Good Luck Ms. Eyer.

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

DonBee: Is that really what you think? Call me sometime; I'd love to chat about it.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

I'd rather shove bamboo under my fingernails than be responsible for comment moderation on this site. This is like sitting atop the tallest building holding a metal rake during a thunderstorm. Good luck with your new position.


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 6:35 a.m.

OMG this is better then SNL

Jen Eyer

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

lol, Craig. I promise to send you a personal email next time — if you promise to apologize. ;-)

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Kind of like that one.... ;)

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Since I've never gotten the "personal attack" e-mail I can only assume my 50 some deletions fall under jerk/ off topic/ offensive/ don't further the conversation. :)

Jen Eyer

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

sbbuilder: Sometimes it certainly feels that way! But then there are the times — and it happens more often that one might think — that we email a commenter to let them know their comment was taken down for a personal attack, and they apologize and say they appreciate what we're trying to do. That makes it all worthwhile.


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Hey--how about hiring some journalists?

Jen Eyer

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

If you're referring to reporters, yes — we have a couple of new people joining us. They'll be announced soon.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

Is the "Director of Audience Engagement" anything like "The Minister of Disappearing Posts"?

Jen Eyer

Sun, May 1, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

lloydering: Yes, I do mean that you would see how moderating works in particular. We're very aware that we are much more involved in moderation than most news sites; and we feel that the relative quality and constructiveness of the conversations on our site reflects those efforts. To your example, we simply don't allow negative comments about an individual's physical characteristics. We don't want to be subjective in this area; that's one thing that's just off the table.


Sun, May 1, 2011 : 7:41 a.m.

Jen do you mean mediation rules or mediation in general like the other news web sites. your rules are fare more strengent then say Detroit free press, CNN,Msnbc,Yahoo news media You do understand your site much more strict right? Why? Not to worry I will help you as we go forword,your outfront personalized approach is nice but lets also work harder to help create and reinforce an individualized commenting experience through more cutting edge remarks like say aaaaaaaa O ya! the term duck face comes to mind, pretty harmless yet reather accurate within context of such a crual act. Is that smile i see hahaha............

Jen Eyer

Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

lloydering: Truly, you're not missing much. But if you're ever curious to see how moderation works, you can stop by the Community Space for an impromptu "moderation ridealong." I'll also be setting up a more organized one up in the near future.


Sat, Apr 30, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

You know it Craig hahaha.......... One must tread lightly around here. Like throwing red meat in a cage of hungry pit bulls and expecting them to take turns and use tabel manners. She means well I guess.........Would have been nice to to see the 250 banned posts though LOL


Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

Congratulations, Ms. Eyer, on your promotion, and good luck to you in your ongoing endeavors at

Jen Eyer

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

Thank you, DBH!