Good post here from MU alum and Memphis journalism prof Carrie Brown. I won’t steal her thunder, but this is the gist of it:

In (Ken Ward, Jr’s) blog, Coal Tattoo, he decided early on not to ignore comments. He said:

I handled it completely differently — I started out being very involved and hands on and interacting with readers. And, to a large extent, it drove the trolls away.

And this engagement has had a direct payoff in terms of cultivating leads from sources and material for stories.