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Anchor: Wayne Young
SLUGLINE: Who cares if it's true?
INTRO: This is Reflections on Online Media. The date is November 20, 2016. A rare rainy afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona. I am Wayne Young.
WY: Today I’ll be speaking about truth in reporting in the Internet age. Does it matter anymore and if so, how do we achieve it. Let’s take a look at one successful example of reporting via the Internet, and it is Buzzfeed.
WY: From its start, Buzzfeed’s journalists shared the idea that the quicker a story was put out the better, even if it had not been thoroughly vetted. They felt that the internet was self-correcting and that the truth would emerge through open trial and error. While still maintaining much of this philosophy, Buzzfeed has decided that convincing its readers that its posts are true makes good sense regarding both journalism and business. In order to do so, they have started to use journalistic tools that have been derided as “old-school”, and one of the most fundamental of these tools is the copy editor.
WY: This philosophy falls in line with a primary concern that veteran reporters have. The old guard holds that reporting is a quest for truth and for what the readers need to know to stay informed. Their process was all about verifying the facts and only then presenting them to the public.
WY: Adding some of the old tools doesn’t mean Buzzfeed is going to be slavishly following the “rules” of the past. Instead of insisting that stories have at least two source, one really strong and credible source is enough to see it to publication. The editor in chief, Ben Smith prefers to rely on smart reporters and on Twitter, fixing stories as they develop.
WY: For more information and other stories, go to wayne-young-online (dot) blogspot (dot) com.
OUT-RO: Thank you for listening to Reflections on Online Media. Be sure to keep listening.