Want to get people to read your online newspaper? Want to be flooded with comments? Write about presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Just look at what happened to the Cardinal Courier, the student newspaper at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y.
On Wednesday, the newspaper wrote an editorial criticizing the presidential candidate's performance in the Nov. 28 CNN/YouTube debate.
"I saw the debate," Editor-in-Chief Bill Kuchman wrote in the signed editorial. "I watched every minute of it. I heard every answer. While the results were a mixed bag, I know one thing for certain: Ron Paul is a waste of my time and trivializes the entire debate process."
The response was almost immediate.
"Within the first two hours of the article being available online, it had over 2,000 views," Kuchman wrote in a letter to The Student Newspaper Survival Blog Wednesday evening. "This was a lot for us considering our previous high for a day was just under 2,000. As of now, the article has close to 6,000 views and over 220 comments." (By Thursday evening there were 287 comments on the editorial.)
The Cardinal Courier staff did some research and found that DailyPaul.com, a site created by Paul booster Mike Nystrom, had picked up the article and was urging readers to comment against it.
"The comments not only defend Paul, but attack the character of our paper and of myself," Kuchman wrote in his letter to us. "The funny thing is that in the editorial, I talked about Paul supporters hijacking political discussion on sites like CNN and in response, that's exactly what they did to Cardinal Courier Online."
Kuchman asks: "Have any other newspapers run into this kind of thing? I'm sure the Cardinal Courier isn't the only one to wade into political arena now that we're less than a year away from the presidential election."
If you've had a similar experience with presidential politics or with a blog launching a campaign against your site, post a comment.