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The Convoluted Life Cycle of a News Story

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the ok-let's-randomly-update-this-story dept.

Social Networks 75

ideonexus writes "Once upon a time, newspapers were considered the "first draft of history." Today, rather than the daily episodic updates of major news stories developing a narrative over time, we have a perpetual stream of factoids from which a story emerges. Lauren Rabaino of mediabistro details this new lifecycle of a newspaper story, from tweets to blog posts to an eventual print edition, and asks What are the best standards of practice? Should news sources provide a single web address with a stream of updates, post new blog entries that link to older ones, or should they adopt a Wiki approach to the news — revising a single story with a history of revisions available behind the scenes?"

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Cell phone voicemail (5, Funny)

Dark$ide (732508) | about 2 years ago | (#38119074)

Here in the UK all the news comes from hacking cell phone voicemail systems.

It's worse here (5, Funny)

macwhizkid (864124) | about 2 years ago | (#38119396)

Here in the US all our news comes from the UK from hacking cell phone voicemail systems.

Re:It's much worse here (1)

SpaceCracker (939922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38123232)

Here in Israel all our news comes from tapping media in the US who get it from the UK from hacking cell phone voicemail systems.

In the Middle East all the news comes from (mis)qouting news from Israel which comes from tapping media in the US who get it from the UK from hacking cell phone voicemail systems.

Voicemail systems in the UK are full of news items left by relatives in the Middle East.

Re:Cell phone voicemail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119412)

Fizzly taco bell pussy makes your towels shrink and effervesce in the name of Jesus Christ our donkey lord and Sith masturbator.

The Newscorp News Cycle. (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120108)

1) Pick unpopular issue.

2) Ignore all facts on the issue.

3) Tie unpopular issue to politician Murdoch does not like.

4) ????.

5) Profit.

6) Complain that the politician is now suing you for Libel.

Re:The Newscorp News Cycle. (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126188)

Hi, I work for a mid-size (~200 reporter) news agency. Let me tell you how it really works...

1) Event happens
2) Reporter writes article.
3) Subject editor edits article for content correctness.
4) Copy editor edits article for grammer and style, also writes headline.
5) Article is published online and in print.

For investigative reporting or huge stories, fact checking will generally happen at 3. For small stories and dailies, it will happen at 2 and 3 will review it with their domain expertise.

Advertising doesn't ever target specific stories. They will target big annual events like the Grammys, but generally sell to sections (news, life, features, politics, etc) and sell well in advance of specific stories breaking. There's a firewall between news and advertising.

Here's the fun part...the stuff you're worried about being swayed -- news, current events, politics, are the things advertising doesn't give a damn about. Advertisers generally don't want to advertise in those sections because they can't be demographically targeted. Advertisers want features, life, fashion, and family sections because that's where they can reach women and families (and sports for men). Hard news is the least-likely section of any news agency to be swayed by advertising dollars because its the least desirable section to advertise in.

Re:The Newscorp News Cycle. (1)

cheesecake23 (1110663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38128808)

1) Event happens
2) Reporter writes article.
3) Subject editor edits article for content correctness.
4) Copy editor edits article for grammer and style, also writes headline.
5) Article is published online and in print.

Note that nobody checks the spelling.

To answer his question: Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119076)

There should be different sites in different formats. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Different purposes could require different formats.

Example of How Not to Do It (5, Insightful)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 2 years ago | (#38119106)

I couldn't figure out a way to fit it into the summary, but I was bothered by the way Reuters recently handled their story claiming George Soros was funding Occupy Wall Street (OWS) [washingtonpost.com], first running a headline claiming a connection but with a story that offered very spurious evidence of monetary support for the movement, and then taking that story down under heavy criticism [nymag.com] from other news sources and reposting the exact same story with a headline absolving Soros [reuters.com] of any connection to OWS with a new link, while simultaneously killing the link to the old story without any explanation.

It was extremely problematic for people debating online, as my conservative friends suddenly had their link go dead, while my liberal friends suddenly had the same story but with a headline supporting their position. It was the same exact story, but since nobody RTFAs, the headline was the most important piece of evidence in the debate.

I post this example, not to dredge up some off-topic flamewar about OWS, but because it seems like a pretty clear cut case of how we don't want news agencies operating. I read a comment on Slashdot recently that the reason we aren't allowed to modify our comments is to prevent users from editing out things in order to accuse others of strawman attacks. If you screw up a fact, you post a correction. It seems News Organizations owe us the same courtesy.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#38119156)

I think the lesson there is: don't spin the headline. Never stop happening, of course, but if we really wanted fair news sources they should make the headline as non-biased as possible. The exact same story with two different headlines can, in fact, be taken two different ways. In fact both may be valid interpretations of the evidence as presented in the story, but a headline will lead 99% of people to one conclusion over the other.

Newspapers have known for years that you can put whatever the hell you want for a headline and people will believe it, even if the facts in the story don't support it. Hell, some news stories will directly contradict the headline... but they will do it towards the end. Most people don't read that far, so most readers end up believing whatever the headline says, no matter how stupid, sometimes even if they read the article itself. You could say that implies people are stupid, but I think it has more to do with the book-by-it's cover phenomenon. First impressions tend to carry through.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 2 years ago | (#38119414)

It was extremely problematic for people debating online...conservative friends...liberal friends.... It was the same exact story, but since nobody RTFAs, the headline was the most important piece of evidence in the debate.

Oh, yeah, "debating" online. A "debate" implies that all parties have at least some background information and are capable of critical thinking and intelligent discussion.

What you described in that case is just parroting. Like parrots, the two sides just repeat sound bites heard from people they happen to agree with. Liberals are all lazy homosexual communists, because Rush Limbaugh said so. Conservatives are dumb, cruel, racist Nazis because Keith Olbermann said so.

Parrots are the cause of America's inability to fix its own problems, especially when turned loose at the ballot box.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120116)

Odd. I've never heard Limbaugh actually say that about Liberals. Individuals sure. Though Olbermann does regularly insult large swaths of people, and make racist comments.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120576)

Odd. I've never heard Olbermann actually say that about Conservatives. Individuals sure. Though Limbaugh does regularly insult large swaths of people, and make racist comments.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38141700)

I for one welcome our new avian electorate.

Extreme laziness (1)

Leuf (918654) | about 2 years ago | (#38119442)

This is just taking their typical lazy attitude to another level. Every article seems to be a contest of how much they can cut and paste from previous articles with as little new content as possible.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120038)

If you screw up a fact, you post a correction. It seems News Organizations owe us the same courtesy.

They do. You usually find it, in the printed editions, on page 67B right next to the obituaries.

Re:Example of How Not to Do It (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120588)

"I post this example, not to dredge up some off-topic flamewar about OWS ...

You're on the wrong website bud ;-)

Re: Example of How Not to Do It (2)

evansvillelinux (621123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125430)

I read a comment on Slashdot recently that the reason we aren't allowed to modify our comments is to prevent users from editing out things in order to accuse others of strawman attacks.

I have seen this happen on every single message board I've been a member of and is specifically the reason that I've disabled editing posts on any message board I have (and ever will) owned. I prefer receiving nasty messages that someone can't edit their posts rather than nasty messages about people changing their stories after receiving negative responses or whatever reason...

I have a novel idea. (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#38119112)

How about actually reporting the truth instead of slanting it to the political leaning of your respective audience?

Re:I have a novel idea. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119612)

How about actually reporting the truth instead of slanting it to the political leaning of your respective audience?

Wouldn't work. There's no money in truth, but there's plenty in "truth".

Re:I have a novel idea. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119656)

I have bad news for you: That's actually really physically impossible.

First of all, since there is no "absolute truth". Terms, words, sentences and memes/concepts mean something slightly different for everyone of us. Which is based on our own experiences. For example, somebody living in any of the five towns called "Paris" in the US might think of his "Paris" first, before considering the one in France. And this is a mild example. Every story contains loads of such context-sensitive vague memes. And most of the context is not in the story, but assumed. Put a story Texan about the mayor of "Paris" into a French newspaper, change nothing, and it means something completely different.

Second of all, our senses themselves introduce a huge bias because of their filtering and processing. And our brains themselves are nothing bug huge bias machines. They literally process only differences from normal. Which means bias from neutral. In other words: Perfectly neutral input cannot even be processed, since it by definition causes no changes whatsoever in the neurons.

And as if that were not enough, spacetime is relative to. So your time might not be my time. Your "before" might be my "after". And your '20 miles left from me' is not mine anyway. There simply are no absolutes in our daily lives, even when there may be some in the universe.

I've had countless discussions, and countless very sceptical discussion partners, and so the mere thought of "OMGTEHTRUTHXORZ!!!1one" or "neutral unbiased reporting", is unscientific and delusional nonsense.
It only makes you blind for your own personal bias and expected bias.

The right way to approach this, is do accept that everything has a bias, and know that the more somebody says he doesn't have one, the more he is just is a egocentric dickwad who is blind to his own bias relative to other people.
Because when the bias is known, one has a chance to correct for it. If it is not known, that's not the case.

Choose wisely. :)

Re:I have a novel idea. (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120146)

Someone would have to be in charge of The Truth in such a way that we could all objectively discern whether or not a given news story conformed to it. Professional standards ought to control the amount of bias injected into a reporter's account but oddly enough it has turned out that various news organizations will only report stories that have the correct bias injected into them, so its as if the notion of professional standards has been corroded from the inside of the profession since people with the "wrong" biases have professionalized their reporting styles. In other words, truth is mostly a social construct that depends on power and money legitimizing. If you can get enough wealthy people to start a news channel for you, and you can hire reporters to go out and report news in accord with your editorial policy, then you are a legitimate news organization on par with any other. The marketplace doesn't have to buy into your version of the story, but at least you have a right to air it (assuming you can pay for the broadcast air time). At the national and international level, the stories reported are almost exclusively political or financial abstractions, so there is no "truth" to report really. Maybe a 1% tax on capital gains will save the world from impending doom or maybe that exact same tax policy will destroy investment and lead to the destruction of the global economy. It would take a PhD in Economics to know the "truth" and even then there would be substantial disagreement. Most things today are like that unless you are reporting about proofs of mathematical theorems, and even then it often requires years of research to validate the results. I don't think anyone can say authoritatively what is going on in the world anymore.

Re:I have a novel idea. (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120360)

Actually, I would settle for news sources being honest about their bias. Especially since it is not possible to report a story without it being colored by the reporter's bias. Of course, I also wish that news sources would not leave out key facts in an attempt to make a story support a political position that it neither supports nor refutes (I remember one news story that was reported on network nightly news--don't remember which network--with one key fact left out so that it appeared to be a classic example of why some policy favored by Democrats should be enacted. It was also reported by a conservative news source that included that fact, but left out another one so that the story appeared to support opposition to that same policy. When you knew the facts that were left out by one side or the other, the story had no bearing on that particular policy debate whatsoever.).

Re:I have a novel idea. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120636)

They don't do that too much. Instead they just bury stories outright. Back in the day Watergate, an office break in and cover up, was enough to lose a president his job. Todays buried stories...

FBI funding drug cartels to buy guns from ATF illegally resulting in over 200 killings and 2000 guns in hands of criminals using them.
1.4$ Billion given to failed company run by DNC supporter Robert Kennedy.
500$ Million to a solar company so they wouldn't announce layoffs within a week of an election.
$2 Billion given to oil drilling in Brazil owned by DNC supporter.
Oil pipeline prevented from being built because RNC supporters were investors.
Shutting down hundreds of auto dealerships based on DNC contributions and not performance, by the executive branch.

Each of these is FAR worse than Watergate, and ALL were perpetuated by Obama or his direct reports. All buried as much as possible, no spin needed, just don't report.

Re:I have a novel idea. (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120794)

I'd settle for fact checking. Usually, a story comes from a quote, and the quote gets its own legs. It would be better to report what someone said, and follow it up with"... But we found..." Simple fact checking takes time, which is why they don't do it, they want to be first with the story.

For example, the 53% who pay no* taxes, that was a big quote.

I'd prefer a wiki style, with updated parts clear. White background for the initial story, darker backgrounds for later updates, something visual like that. That way you can read the whole thing new, or just refresh and see what parts are new.

I got lost in the Libya updates, live tweeting the news, essentially. I missed a lot, and some preliminary information was wrong but not corrected. All in one place, with thewe newfangled things called hyperlinks for related stories.

*Federal was left out, with the implication that 47% pay no taxes at all, and that's where the 53% movement came from. Implicitly dishonest, but widely quoted.

Re:I have a novel idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38121646)


God, I love Jack Nicholson :-)

Complimentary copy (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#38119124)

I thought it was all about complimentary copy advertorials? They actually still have reporters?

Re:Complimentary copy (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#38119196)

Somebody has to spell-check and scrub for PR-flack fingerprints the press releases before they can be reformatted and sent to the printer...

Re:Complimentary copy (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38119902)

Of course they have reporters, who do you think searches the web for the game scores, and somebody has to go ask the tough questions regarding next weeks fashion show.

seriously if newspaper would stop catering to their customers(advertisers) at the expense of their clients(readers), newspaper readership wouldn't be dropping. I can't tell you when the last time my local paper did actual investigative reporting.

A Press Release Is Written (4, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | about 2 years ago | (#38119136)

Depending on the circumstances, the press release might get written by a business trying to push their next product release or dis their competitor's new product, or it might get written by a government agency trying to increase its clout within the government or as part of a longer-running PR campaign.

Then the press release is sent to the press, some of whom ignore it, some of whom mindlessly print it, and some of whom decide it's a good enough story for their market so they talk about it on radio or TV or give it print space.

Then other commenters start giving it coverage, whether that's talk radio ranting about how bad or good it is or somebody submitting it to Slashdot or whatever.

Then the tweets and the blogosphere get it. That doesn't mean they don't start stories on their own, but the people with interests in controlling the press or touting their products don't leave it to chance. (That's not even counting the ones where the tweets and blogosphere get started by astroturf, which is also pretty common today as an alternative business model to astroturfing the AP, Washington Post, or EE Times.)

Re:A Press Release Is Written (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38120054)

From my experience of the media (working on government events), I was shocked at just quite how bad it is. A great many reporters really do not bother to check the facts of what it is that they're reporting on, and instead ask each other instead of going to the bloody event 200 metres away, which they have access to, and are meant to go to from the press area which they're already in.
Myself and my coworkers had a good laugh at the press reports throughout the day, and those printed afterwards, comparing them to the events which we saw and experienced. It was after that, I started taking all news reports with a mine of salt.
As for the press releases from different interests, they're even worse.

Re:A Press Release Is Written (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38121430)

From what I've seen, the people responsible for the press releases also have Twitter/Facebook/... accounts (sometimes even separate corporate accounts), and use those to issue "press releases" as well. Those press releases are of lesser importance though ("the company had a big meeting" or "that team is just back from a training week in agile six sigma ..." (I'm not good with buzzwords)), which means that they work as a complement to the traditional press releases.

Therefore, it may not be useful to think about the order technologies are used. The information comes from the company or research team (as with LHC-related stories) somehow, and then media copies from that and each other (with or without their own more or less intelligent modifications).

Crowdsourcing disruptive innovation is needed. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119138)

Clearly, we need to crowdsource some disruptive innovation into the news media market. While we do have some convergence of traditional and social media, we also see the vertical and horizontal integration of the printed media becoming more apparent. The alignment of the interests of these groups will need to be achieved in order to leverage and proactively facilitate the advent of media in the New Economy. This goes beyond the reasonable return on investment expected by the established news media. A convergence is needed between the collaboration of brick-and-mortar media and the rising e-media revolution.

xkcd (3, Informative)

philj (13777) | about 2 years ago | (#38119140)

Made me think of this xkcd http://www.xkcd.com/978/ [xkcd.com]

easy: (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#38119148)

They should use a public git repository. They should also release everything under a dual Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License/GFDL. They can then support themselves by giving speeches and selling t-shirts.

First we should ask... (1)

m.shenhav (948505) | about 2 years ago | (#38119160)

How much information do we really need? How important is it that we get it instantaneously? I guess I would like to be informed of a natural disaster quickly, but do I really need to be informed two seconds after Obama farts?

Yo dog... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#38119180)

I've heard that those crazy neckbeards over in comp-sci solved the problem of how to manage, timestamp, and attribute revisions to a complex file or group of files that can be expected to be revised over time according to new information, requirements, or refinements. And solved it bloody decades ago. Revision control, people, it isn't just for sourcecode.

Combine that with some of the newer and more www/browser friendly automated merge-and-pretty-print stuff, it should be architecturally trivial to provide a stable URL for a story, a full revision history(including times and who made the revisions), along with related stories, the ability to track revision activity of specific comitters, etc, etc.

I enjoy a good bit of handwaving about how to "best" express complex structures within the limitations of obsolete formats as much as the next guy, and quite possibly more; but it just seems so pointless in this case: There isn't any need to cram the entire sausage-factory of news production into a few square inches of ink-on-dead-tree, so lots of nuanced bloviation on how to do that is just a lot of fluff over a toy problem(nothing wrong with toy problems, as a hobby; but they are a distraction if you are supposed to actually be working...)

If the process is complex, involves multiple inputs over time, from multiple people, then it is indeed impossible to cram without some loss of fidelity into a single static text lump. We could either wring our hands over what transform algorithm is most 'true', or we could just stop fucking around and use a format actually designed to capture something structured that way. This doesn't seem like a difficult decision.

Re:Yo dog... (1)

blerg (185696) | about 2 years ago | (#38119566)

You mean like a wiki?

Yeah, we have those too. And they are being used to keep an encyclopaedia, if you will, of knowledge! How about that!

Google Wave (1)

HatofPig (904660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120868)

Google tried this already with Google Wave. Nobody wanted it.

Re:Google Wave (1)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38121860)

I liked it but, I stopped using it for the same reason everyone else did: It was a wholly closed off system. The only people you could communicate with were ones on the service and why would people check another service when they already check SMS, email, voicemail, Facebook, blogs, etc.

The real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119200)

How will we handle news when the human species has spread across the universe on 3D printed warp drive starships?

Same Lifecycle, More Public (2)

stating_the_obvious (1340413) | about 2 years ago | (#38119204)

This is the same way in which news has always developed. The difference now is that all the rumors, facts, leads, and dead ends that a good reporter sifted through and tracked down is much more public. Now we get to see the making of the sausage because so many people are willing to post random noise and data, but most of us still want trusted reporters to help us analyze and make sense of a story. Every individual needs to pick their level of comfort and trust in their sources -- some will continue to trust the traditional institutions of journalism, and some will believe that 'Anonymous Coward' is a trustworthy and citable source.

Same signal, more noise, and less ability of the average American to distinguish between the two.

"Homeless Veteran Bites Dog" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119240)

  update: Homeless man was not a veteran.

  update 2: Unconfirmed whether man was homeless or not.

  update 3: Actually the dog bit the man, not the other way around.

  update 4: The victim was a 9-year old boy, and the dog was a pit bull mix. Boy lived down the street.

  update 5: Owner of the pit bull failed to register dog as dangerous breed with authorities.

  update 6: The dog was a fox terrier, no special registration was required.

  update 7: Bite by dog not confirmed, but there was a lot of loud barking.

News Via Wiki? (5, Insightful)

Cbs228 (596164) | about 2 years ago | (#38119250)

I seem to recall another civilization where news stories were subject to constant, behind-the-scenes revisions. I read about it in a book. One must always take care to interpret the past correctly, through the darkly-tinted lenses of our current social and political mindset. After all, it would simply be unsettling if there were anything at all in our history that happened to be politically insensitive or inconvenient for our current religious, economic, or secular leadership. Simply revising or "reinterpreting" key facts and events go a long way towards removing all of that troubling cognitive dissonance; such dissonance could cause people to question the way things are right now. Sadly, I can't really remember any more details about this civilization, because my e-books retailer erased every copy [slashdot.org] of it.

News via Wiki? I don't think so.

Re:News Via Wiki? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38119272)

News via Wiki? I don't think so.

At least a wiki preserves changes so you can see what the story looked like before.

Re:News Via Wiki? (4, Interesting)

Cbs228 (596164) | about 2 years ago | (#38119410)

Sure, but how many Wikipedia users—not editors or regular contributors, but users—actually check the revision logs or old versions of the page? Even writers who are using Wikipedia as a primary source don't do that much fact checking [xkcd.com]. Users don't always have the greatest attention span in the world, and burying stuff on another page is a sure-fire way to get people to ignore it. If you put revision information three or more clicks away, or sequester it in a registration-required (or paywall-required) page, how many people will follow it? News-gathering organizations have a reputation to maintain, and they have every incentive not to admit that they are (or ever were) wrong.

I think that wikis should have a visualization tool for paragraphs, highlighting text like a spell-checker in a word processor or a syntax-checker in an IDE. The visualization tool should represent how new, and how frequently-revised, a particular section of text is. This will allow casual readers to easily spot points of contention and text that may require further validation.

Re:News Via Wiki? (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38121822)

I think that wikis should have a visualization tool for paragraphs, highlighting text like a spell-checker in a word processor or a syntax-checker in an IDE. The visualization tool should represent how new, and how frequently-revised, a particular section of text is.

You should give a try to WikiTrust. [wikipedia.org] Last time I used it, it was in a will-eat-your-puppy release. But it offers the features you're requesting, plus weighting each word with a measure of the reliability of its editor.

I hope in the future it will be improved enough to be deployed in the regular Wikipedia.

Re:News Via Wiki? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#38119804)

That's pretty cool how in a post complaining about people revising history, you yourself re-wrote history to lie about what Amazon did.

If the random chatterers on slashdot can't resist the urge to lie to make their story better, how on earth can we expect companies to do so when there's actual money on the line?

SlashDot? (1, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#38119308)

What do they call the part of the news story where the original, unfounded claim, appears on Slashdot 3 months after the internet has declared it dead an buried?

Re:SlashDot? (2)

ankhank (756164) | about 2 years ago | (#38119658)

> What do they call ... where the original,
> unfounded claim, appears ... 3 months
> after the internet has declared it dead
> and buried?

Generically --> "rebunking"

Re:SlashDot? (1)

six025 (714064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120542)

What do they call the part of the news story where the original, unfounded claim, appears on Slashdot 3 months after the internet has declared it dead an buried?

Typically referred to as a "dupe" ;-)

Capture the Story (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | about 2 years ago | (#38119354)

I think a lot of news outlets do themselves a disservice in their effort to push the latest news out the door by throwing together a couple sentences (or worse, tweets) and calling it a "story".

At least when I read a news article, I'm looking for context (what's the backstory?), significance (what's the important new development?) and perspective (what do other people think?) There's a rush sometimes to gravitate to significance, minimize context, and forget about perspective altogether. I think that leads to a lot of our news-driven culture where everything seems to be over-quoted and hyper-republished without a healthy dose of skepticism.

I generally support keeping the story "live", up to a point. I think it's wrong to go back and edit a story that's more than 24 hours old, and while it's best if new developments are integrated into the main body, there needs to be a "changes to this story" log. And preferably not at the beginning. Hard to count the number of times I've seen a story on some blog start with a half-dozen lines like "UPDATE 3: Joe has contacted MGIS, they deny that they didn't release the specs on the TSR-5100 to the FCC". (Again, context is important).

Re:Capture the Story (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38122402)

I have seen this happen to my alma mater, Penn State recently. I'm fairly sure that almost everyone has heard of the sick fuck Sandusky and what he did to the kids. Within 1 day the public, and more seriously the press, were calling for heads to roll. Which they did a few days later. After 2 weeks all kinds of other information is coming out about the police, the DA, the governor, etc. But these new stories are not pushed because they don't have a big name attached to them.
So it's not really that convoluted- throw everything you have at anyone involved and get your ratings/page views. After that, it doesn't really matter what happens because the mop-up of a scandal/disaster is never as fun as the initial surge of rage/concern. If you asked a random person what they know about the Duke lacrosse scandal, what do you think the ratio of "they raped a girl" to "they were innocent" would be?

Sorry about that, I'm still trying to comprehend how badly my school fucked up.

Accuracy, Not Infotainverts (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#38119438)

The best practice of a newspaper is for a reporter who understands the events to find the actual facts about the events, and tell them in a story that is accurate to those facts in terms the readers understand.

No news is made this way. Which is why nobody treats the news as anything but propaganda, whether they like their propaganda or not. All we've got is infotainverts.

Modern Media Story Development Process (5, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#38119594)

1) Event happens
2) Field reporter sends details to news office
3) News office embellishes the story to add sensationalism, interest, and other compelling things
4) Marketing office adds advertiser tie-ins and paid referral language
5) Story is published
6) ...
7) Fact Checking

Tell you what isn't best practice... (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38120088)

...be the guy invited to the boldly-claimed energy revolution
http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/10/28/030244/1-mw-cold-fusion-plant-supposedly-to-come-online [slashdot.org] ...actually attend
http://www.cobraf.com/forum/immagini/thumbs/R_319825_1.jpg [cobraf.com] ...then don't report on it
http://twitter.com/#!/petersvensson/status/131019897244368896 [twitter.com] ...tell people to 'stay tuned'
http://twitter.com/#!/petersvensson/status/131754686226247681 [twitter.com] ...all while the conspiracy blogs suggest that you're probably being pressured from up on high to remain quiet
http://freeenergytruth.blogspot.com/2011/10/ecat-censorship-ap-news-report-killed.htmlz [blogspot.com]
( Not that I'm suggesting anybody pay particular attention to conspiracy blogs, just setting up the pieces... ) ...even though reality is that you probably signed an NDA and were never allowed to report a damn thing anyway (positive or negative), thus making you a pawn in the "look at how legitimate we are - we even have an official from the press, the AP no less, present" game in the days leading up to the much-hyped test.

Best practice is to just go on vacation :)
http://twitter.com/#!/petersvensson/status/137641776751185920 [twitter.com]

For slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38121222)

Get posted on slashdot. Mistakes in the summary, mistakes in tfa, better links and links to the original article get discussed.

Get re-posted a year later with the same mistakes as above.

Not factoid (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38121536)

"Factoid" does not mean small piece of data.

Humanoid: having appearance of a human but not being one
Planetoid: non-stellar body which does not qualify as a planet
Android: robot in the configuration of a human, but not being human
Factoid: assertion that looks like a fact but is not so.

Re:Not factoid (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38129756)

Factoid: "Factoid" was a term invented by CNN to refer to random short facts that were displayed on the screen.

In common usage, it refers to a short, factual phrase.

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News Writing vs. Reporting (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38122924)

To me, the biggest problem is that most news outlets are "writing" news instead of "reporting" news. Today, it's all about spin and market share. OK, so this is certainly nothing new. Heck, the "Oh the humanity!" reporting at the Hindenburg disaster was probably nothing new at its time. Maybe I'm just Old School, but when I see a newscaster reading a story on the 11:00 news, I have an expectation that what he is saying is as factual as the reporters were able to determine, and that opinion and editorial are left out. Unfortunately, that's an expectation of the past.

Before even thinking of this story, review this: (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38124904)

1) Who actually owns the media: (Hint: About 6 companies in the USA. Not too many more worldwide): http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart/main [freepress.net] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_of_media_ownership [wikipedia.org]

2) Who sits on their board of both these media companies and other major corporations: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2870 [fair.org]

Bottom line: Every major media outlet is directly controlled by the people who own most of the wealth in America. Messages are strictly controlled. Real journalism has been banished to the blogosphere and that too, though still relatively free, is slowly being undermined.

Re:Before even thinking of this story, review this (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127008)

Exactly. Why? There is no money in the truth. The truth is often boring. But there will always be a market for skewing, spinning, damage control, damage infliction, and politics. It has never been about what is relevant to us, because nothing really is until it makes the news. The news defines its own relevance, and unfortunately it is on the terms of the buyers of the news, which is extremely detrimental to "real" reporting - which by the way is also a fairly abstract concept defined by "real reporters" which are also mythical creatures. All those big name anchors just read papers handed to them. They happily adjust to the network they work for, i.e. the guys that give them their paychecks, which is a valid reason. Brian Williams is a great guy doing a great job and is great on Late Night, but the more he is likable the more effective he is at delivering the message that he is being paid to be delivered. He is great at it.

Why would I care about Iraq if I never watch the news? No chance of it crossing my mind. And it wouldn't even be in the news if not for the war none of us had a say in.

Everything is happening without us, because the news is never about us.


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