(UPDATE: This post originally contained an error. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, not The Kansas City Star, published the errant column I referred to below. If you spotted it and let me know, congratulations — and thanks for helping us with this project.)
The ASU News Co/Lab is deploying a “corrections tool” — a way to help journalistic corrections and major updates travel the same social media pathways as the original errors — into several newsrooms soon. This post is part of that process, as I’ll explain here.
The News Co/Lab’s Corrections Project is based on several notions: First, we believe that forthright corrections are a fundamental, essential part of journalistic transparency. Second, we can help automate the process of sending them down those social media pathways — to alert people who’d shared the original articles that there was a correction or significant update. Finally, we hope to help the news industry (and others who believe in the best journalistic principles) come up with a standard for creating and publishing corrections.
Our software developer, Ted Han, has been building the web-based corrections tool. It has two main parts:
- Discovery — finding who shared the original.
- Response — alerting sharers to the update, with the goal of getting them to share the update.
We’re using data generated by social media and analytics companies, bringing it into the tool to show journalists the reach of what they’ve published, and then decide which sharers of that content should get alerts when a correction is published.
How is this possible? Last year, we devised a methodology with our partners at McClatchy, a major news company. We described our approach in a blog post— our example was a column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in which the columnist quoted from a news article that was based on incorrect information a government agency had provided — and how we planned to use technology to automate the hands-on process of sending out updates we used in that case.
As I said in the headline above, this post has a mistake in it. We’re asking a few of our friends to tweet about the post or retweet our own tweets. Once we’ve been informed — maybe by you? — of the mistake, I’ll correct this post here. Then I’ll use the tool to find out who shared it, and will further use it to alert several of those people who tweeted about the original.
This is a test to see how it all works, and to generate screen shots for a Users Guide we’ll give newsrooms as they test the tool.
So, if you can find the error, let me know (and include your Twitter handle so I can credit you there).