Media stories of note for Wednesday, April 24, 2013:
Churnalism US is a new tool
to help determine if journalism has been heavily borrowed from other sources. It is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation (which reports on it here)
and the Media Standards Trust. It works by pasting a URL or text into the site, which then patrols the web for similar content. Last week, for instance, it determined that a prematurely published obituary had borrowed heavily from a Wikipedia entry.
ESPN has a new ombudsman starting June 1. Robert Lipsyte has been one of sports journalism's most ardent critics over decades. The New Republic looks at his career
and his outlook in the new role. Lipsyte replaces what had been a team-ombudsman approach at ESPN, which was using Poynter to help resolve public complaint issues.
Last week's British journalism conference, news:rewired, featured a session on media standards and ethics
in the digital age. It produced a five-point guide that emphasizes accuracy over speed, stronger transparency on process, constant addition of value as stories are linked and shared, a commitment to corrections, and a strategy for trolls.
Some media notes for Tuesday, April 23, 2013:
Jack Shafer, writing for Reuters,
defends the mistake. He notes that journalism has been making errors big and small forever, although he also observes that corrections and retractions don't happen the way they could. The difference now is the audience's ability to help correct the record and "talk back" to the press, making the second draft of history much better.
Frédéric Filoux, writing for his weekly Monday Note
, wonders what the fuss is about with sponsored editorial content, also known as native advertising. He says the controversy is a "festival of fake naivety and misplaced indignation." Editorial content has often been there to flatter the advertising that surrounds it, he says. That being said, he also believes the site's editor, and not its chief revenue officer, should be the one to decide if that advertising crosses the line.
Ombudsmen often determine when the line is crossed, and the Washington Post drew criticism when it recently discontinued the role and replaced it with a readers' representative. Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter,
profiles Doug Feaver and how his job will differ. Feaver came out of retirement to take the part-time role, which ostensibly answers readers of the paper and its site. His first column
noted the disappearance of the Print button on the site, something that restored once he identified the complaint. But he's not there to serve as an ombudsman, he notes.
A follow-up: An amendment to legislation proposes that smaller blogs (those with fewer than 10 employees and two million pounds in revenue each year) will be exempt from the harsh penalties if they do not join the new press regulator under the royal charter governing media in the country. The Editors Weblog notes
this is a welcome relief for organizations that would have been subject to the penalties originally devised for large companies.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, April 16, 2013:
The explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday were captured by media, but Erik Wemple of the Washington Post notes how Twitter served as a form of media ombudsman
in the hours that followed to verify and not the many assertions and sources that emerged with information about the blasts. Wemple notes Twitter is also a home for those emphasizing caution in reporting on breaking news.
There continues a dispute between the London School of Economics and the BBC over an LSE trip to North Korea in which the BBC had embedded three journalists posing as professors. The Guardian reports
some of the students indicated BBC did not gain informed consent and they only learned of the undercover journalists upon arriving in North Korea. BBC insists the students were briefed in Beijing about the move.The Daily Telegraph notes
the European Commission has poured millions of euros into initiatives aimed at stronger Europe-wide regulation of the press. Among its early work is a report that recommends newspapers be regulated as are broadcasters, much more tightly and with requirements for balance.
Some media stories of note for Monday, February 18, 2013:
Frederic Filloux, in his weekly Monday Note,
writes about the need for a digital "new journalism" that sheds many traits of the legacy newsroom. He says traditional newspaper writing is aging badly and that new work needs to reflect four developments: readers' time budget, the trust factor with the brand, the speedier competition from within, and magazine writing elegance.
Jay Rosen, the New York University journalism scholar, talks about five shifts in media power
in his latest post on Pressthink: writers ascendant on publishers, shifting scarcity of content, the economics of human presence (in conferences run by organizations, for instance), the renewed importance of voice, and the rise of niche journalism.
Andrew Beaujon of Poynter examines the most recent column
from Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton, who surmises he may be the last one to hold that job at the news organization. With a newsroom in likely need of further cuts, his job is a "tempting target," Pexton concludes.
In his latest column
for the Columbia Journalism Review
, Craig Silverman offers five basic tips for the news ombudsman.
Silverman, author of Regret The Error and a fledgling expert on how news organizations can create best practices, notes the decline of the role of ombudsmen in journalism. Silverman spoke last week in Montreal at the annual Organization of News Ombudsmen
conference and came away wondering how the role can be modernized.
His five basics:
1. Persist with a blog. The conference found some were using social media, but not many.
2. Curate the conversation. Silverman advocates summarizing what people are saying about stories, not just an ombudsman's work in reviewing practices.
3. Make things public. He suggests a mailbag-style posting regularly on the blog to be more of the public face of response to an organization's journalism.
4. Report like an ombudsman and journalist. Keep statistics, spot trends, report on it all.
5. Share your skills. Silverman sees this most helpful in the area of sharing how to deal with public complaints.