Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A window into one newsroom’s diversity opens, but an industry-wide door shuts (for now)
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 9, 2013, 12:31 p.m.
LINK: panpa.org.au  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   July 9, 2013

Miss the endless debates in the U.S. last year over the rise of fact-checking sites? Well, move to Australia, where the debates are apparently just starting in earnest. Politifact Australia, the U.S. site’s first international affiliate, launched in May, and newspaper veteran Ian Moore doesn’t much like it:

In essence, sites such as these are not a journalistic enterprise, nor a resource. They are out to cut the lunch of established publishers with cheap grabs. This is as far from real journalism as practised by newspaper masthead publishers as it gets. It is the job of journalists to establish facts and break news, not indulge in needless semantics.

Another fact-checking enterprise is about to be launched by the ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], with $10 million of taxpayers’ money. The broadcaster is currently hiring staff for a unit that will check the factual basis of statements by politicians and other public figures, while generating content. Its work seems to be mainly internal, but an ABC spokesperson says the unit will have its own web page.

Now that is a frightening prospect — groupthink not only being accepted by the national broadcaster, but is being made compulsory. It does little to support the contention of independent journalism.

If there is improvement to be made to journalism standards, it won’t be achieved by caucusing on interpretation of facts. It would be far better to encourage better use of the journalist’s stock-in-trade — words and language. Standards have lapsed in recent years as a result of inattention to the teaching of basic grammar and proper vocabulary in our schools.

Now who will be the Rachel Maddow of Australia?

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A window into one newsroom’s diversity opens, but an industry-wide door shuts (for now)
The New York Times’ report comes on the heels of a dispiriting announcement from the American Society of News Editors that the group would be pausing its annual census.
When you leave a company, can you take your podcast with you? Here’s how one team did it
Plus: More thoughts on Joe Rogan and Spotify, the BBC releases its annual plan, and Spotify is reportedly going after podcasts again.
The Atlantic’s layoffs may sound the death knell for two media revenue hopes: Video and in-person events
“In one week in March, maybe two, the ground fell out from under live events.”