Washington Post shows it values accuracy, audience engagement in step away from ‘fortress journalism’

The Washington Post made a huge statement yesterday about the accuracy of its reporting, engaging with its audience and building a stronger relationship of trust with its readers.

A link to this page – asking readers and sources to bring errors to editors’ attention – now appears on every online story the paper publishes.

We launched something similar – a “Fact Check” box on every story page on RegisterCitizen.Com – earlier this year.

The Washington Post goes much further, and hits all the right notes in seeking to engage with and learn from its audience. In addition to asking for a simple report on mistakes in a story, its form also asks, “What do we need to know to improve future stories on this topic?” It suggests that readers suggest “additional people to speak with, areas to explore, etc.”

The Washington Post corrections/fact check page even has a “yes/no” opt-in to the question, “Would you be willing to help with other stories?”, suggesting that the paper is building a foundation for future crowdsourcing efforts, perhaps by specific topic.

This is a huge symbolic shift, I hope, away from the “fortress journalism” that traditional media has clung to even as the web and social media have completely changed the audience dynamic out from under them.

And the fact that it comes from a Top 5 major American newspaper that has been criticized strongly for allowing “the print guys” to win must offer a glimmer of hope to new media thought leaders such as Jay Rosen, Craig Silverman and Craig Newmark, who have been beating the drum on fact checking and corrections for some time.

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About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo is group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen, Connecticut Magazine and weeklies including the Litchfield County Times and West Hartford News. Previously, he served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for Yardley, Pennsylvania-based Journal Register Company, Foothills Media Group's parent company. DeRienzo serves on the board of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and has served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Way of Northwest Connecticut and was named one of the "50 Most Influential People in Litchfield County" by Litchfield Magazine. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010.
This entry was posted in Corrections, Craig Silverman, Fact Check, Jay Rosen, The Register Citizen, Washington Post. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Washington Post shows it values accuracy, audience engagement in step away from ‘fortress journalism’

  1. Pingback: The next step in Show Me the Errors? // The Transition

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