Online Readers’ Comments as Popular Texts: Public Opinions of Paid Duty Policing in Canada


Despite paid-duty policing and associated public opinions being an increasingly controversial topic in Canadian news media, there has been limited research about them. This article combines discourse and content analyses to examine the public opinions towards paid-duty policing in Canada expressed in the online readers’ comment sections of news articles. Conceptualizing comments as popular texts, the article discerns several themes, including police impartiality, reputation, expertise, and performance. Most comments centered on the economics of paid duty. The article concludes by considering why economics prevailed over other themes and reflects on core concepts in the literature on online comment boards, including interactivity and counter-publics.

Canadian Journal of Communication, 42(5)