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May 26, 2009, 7:41 a.m.

Corrections are bug reports

The real payoff of Rebooting The News — the weekly collaboration between journalism professor Jay Rosen and programmer Dave Winer hasn’t been so much that Dave is starting to think like a journalist, but that Jay is thinking more and more like a geek:

“One of the features of a rebooted news system would actually be borrowed from the tech world. And it’s the notion of bug catching, which is a very useful thing that programmers regard as normal. ‘If you help us catch a bug — if you point it out — that’s good, because it helps us make the program better.’ There’s no way to catch all the bugs before you release a piece of software. You need users to help you out. For some reason, that attitude has never been part of professional journalism.

“Even though there are such things as corrections, and they do occasionally appear, it’s actually more of a problem when you point out a bug in journalism, than a good thing. I regard this as a defect in the culture of the profession. And it’s something we really saw on display over the past week or so in the case of Maureen Dowd.”

POSTED     May 26, 2009, 7:41 a.m.
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