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.

About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. Most recently, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. 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 the former Journal Register Company. 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. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a longtime board member of 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 the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
This entry was posted in Corrections, Craig Silverman, Fact Check, Jay Rosen, The Register Citizen, Washington Post. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses 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

  2. Fredric says:

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

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