Citizen Media Watch

december 15th, 2006

Tomorrow's journalism – less fact checking?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Paul Gillin writes about ”The coming collapse and rebirth of newspaper journalism”. He predicts that

In 10 years, probably a third of metropolitan daily print newspapers will be gone. Some will go entirely online, while others will merge with regional competitors.

The future will see a new kind of journalism with a different approach, he writes.

It will make a lot of traditionalists uncomfortable. It will force us to re-examine our assumptions about everything from readership to libel law. But it will ultimately be an evolution of the profession into something that is richer, more inclusive and much more dynamic than anything we have ever known.

One interesting point – I’m not sure I agree – that he makes is that even established media will check facts much less, assuming that the public will correct any mistakes.

Rumor, speculation and incomplete information will be published far more readily, on the assumption that errors can be corrected.

I’d be interested to hear others’ view on this. It pretty much contradicts what Tom Glocer had to say about the important of trust.

Update 2006-12-17:
Don’t miss Paul Gillin’s comments to this post.
Also, Swedish blogger Beta Alfa comments (my, somewhat free, translation):

I too find this interesting. The same reasoning can be found with Chris Anderson, pointing at a risk component of transparent media.
It doesn’t sound too strange since we often see people making corrections in the article’s comments field. And the articles are being updated. With a wiki-based thinking more responsibility might be turned over to the visitors.
On the other hand I don’t think you can attract a large audience if you keep on publishing shitty drafts – especially if they are downright erroneous.

Beta Alfa also points to the recent court case where Otto Sjöberg, editor-in-chief of Swedish tabloid Expressen, was recently convicted for publishing an untruthful story about actor Michael Persbrandt. He wonders who is to be held legally responsible under press law in a world where the reporter leans on the reader for fact-checking.

Also check the discussion in the comments of Beta Alfa’s post.


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