Input needed: HOW could a news site be a truth vigilante?

I’ve been following, with interest, the recent flap sparked by this Jan. 12 column by New York Times public editor (ombudsman), Arthur Brisbane: Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?

Brisbane asked NYT readers: “I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

This led to consternation from many Times readers, who believed this kind of revelation is part of the basic job of any news organization. GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram offered a good roundup of the flap, and at The Guardian Clay Shirky wrote an eloquent deeper exploration of the mindset disconnect between the Times and its readers.

Many people are debating the ethical implications of this issue. However, I’m wondering about the practicalities and possible opportunities.

If the NYT (or any news organization) does decide to point out when sources offer inaccurate “facts,” HOW might they accomplish that? Might there be good options, especially online, that could serve this purpose in addition to inserting relevant text into stories?… Continue reading

How the NY Times turns topic pages into link spam

Topic pages can be a great for news venues and audiences. In my post yesterday to the Knight Digital Media Center’s News Leadership 3.0 blog, I sang the praises of topic pages as a tool news orgs can use to engage communities over time around issues.

Of course, news topic pages can be abused, too.

Today the New York Times (which in many ways pioneered the use of news-related topic pages) offers a classic bad example of spammy links to its own topic pages… Continue reading