"Fake news" and how to stop it

“Fake news” and how to stop it

By Dylan M. McLemore, University of Central Arkansas, @voiceofD After the dust from our toxic post-election discourse settled, the talk of traditional and social media turned to “fake news” – a term that has taken on new meaning in recent years, and new prominence in the 2016 presidential race. In this iteration, fake news doesn’t refer […]

What makes people trust the news?

What makes people trust the news?

You already know that Americans have little confidence in what they see, hear or read in the news media. Last year, according to Gallup, trust in media set a new low with just 7% saying they have a great deal of confidence in the news. What’s to be done? A new study offers some clues. The Media Insight Project asked […]

Social media verification tips

Social media verification tips

A new social media journalism venture has had its hands full since launching on January 5. Within 48 hours, the Reported.ly team was scrambling to cover the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris from its posts in Ireland, Greece, Italy and the United States. Staffed by veterans of NPR and public radio, among other news outlets, Reported.ly is […]

Screw-ups of the year

Screw-ups of the year

A television station runs a photo of the mayor and wrongly states she’s flashing a gang sign. TV reporters share photos of themselves on social media appearing to make light of serious stories. Two Chicago stations can’t get the facts right on a jail sentence. What a year for journalism ethics. Ironic, don’t you think, that […]

Using social media in covering breaking news

Using social media in covering breaking news

When the actor Paul Walker died in a car crash, the Associated Press reported a touching tribute from his Fast and Furious co-star, Vin Diesel. “Brother I will miss you very much,” said therealvindiesel’s message on Instagram. “Heaven has gained a new Angel.” The quote drew more than 200,000 likes and one big thumbs down–for being […]

More errors in breaking news

More errors in breaking news

Another breaking news story, another list of news media mistakes. Same old, same old, right? Except this time, a new question came up: Are breaking news mistakes even worth covering anymore? That question raised by Politico media columnist Dylan Byers came on a day when multiple news organizations got the facts wrong about the shooting […]

Making corrections on social media

Making corrections on social media

When you get something wrong in a news story, how do you make it right? Newsroom policies–if they even exist–usually cover the timing and placement of corrections in legacy media and online, but social media are rarely mentioned. That’s a big oversight, considering that errors on social media replicate like rabbits. Imagine you’ve tweeted something […]

Better to be right than first

Better to be right than first

CNN is taking a lot of grief today, and deservedly so. The network’s well-respected Twitter feed for breaking news, @CNNbrk, posted the first tweet on the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health care law at 10:08 a.m. Unfortunately, it was absolutely wrong. The post followed an on air report by CNN’s Kate Bolduan, who […]

Accuracy in journalism more challenging than ever

Accuracy in journalism more challenging than ever

You might think that this is yet another rant on how technology is putting pressure on journalists to publish more quickly and pushing what’s published out to more people, more easily than ever before. But two things happened this week that made me think that we can’t do enough to remind journalists that accuracy has […]

Digital verification tools

Digital verification tools

Information travels so fast these days that it’s hard to keep track of where it came from. Technology makes plagiarism and deception a snap. Online text can be copied and pasted in seconds, photos can be manipulated and no one may be the wiser. But thanks to technology, problems are also easier to detect. If […]

Unsolicited advice for NPR

Unsolicited advice for NPR

Who would have ever imagined needing to advise NPR to slow down? The public radio network has been known for many things since it launched four decades ago, but speed wasn’t one of them. Lately, though, NPR has tripped up more than once because it moved too fast — a sign of troubled times at […]

New multimedia journalism textbook

New multimedia journalism textbook

Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I’m pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of my book, Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World, co-authored with Deb Wenger. It’s available now from CQ Press or Amazon, and we hope you’ll check it out. What’s different this time around? The new […]

Online accountability

Online accountability

How many news sites make it easy for readers to report errors? Very few, according to MediaBugs, a pilot project in the San Francisco area that’s trying to hold the news media accountable and get them to fix “correctable mistakes.” The group reports that three-quarters of news sites it examined offer no links to report […]

Downsizing or sloppiness?

Downsizing or sloppiness?

When newsrooms cut editorial staff–as so many have in the past couple of years–are typos and grammatical errors the inevitable result? The Washington Post’s ombudsman, Andy Alexander, admits there are more errors in the print paper and “clearly reduced staffing plays some role.” But a bigger reason for the increasing number of mistakes, he asserts, […]

Checklist for multimedia accuracy

Checklist for multimedia accuracy

Smaller staffs, shorter deadlines and more platforms to feed. Is it any wonder mistakes get on the air and online? In today’s short-handed, 24/7 newsrooms, it’s more important than ever for anyone involved in producing content to double check it for accuracy. Don’t think someone else will catch even the most obvious errors. They won’t. […]

Online calculators

Online calculators

Calculate percent change or percentages from raw numbers. Convert unit measurements (distance, weight or volume). Adjust prices for inflation using the BLS inflation calculator based on the consumer price index. Calculate change based on wage or medical cost inflation. Compare cost of living in U.S. cities. Convert currencies to make comparisons clear. Break down loans […]