Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Conn. newspaper makes 'fact checking' easy for readers

A newspaper in Leitchfield County, Conn., has added a feature to its Web site to allow readers to "fact check" the story they are reading (see box above). The fact check box appears on every story at the Register Citizen. At RegisterCitizen.com, editor Matt DeRienzo explained to readers that, "On any given day, we are going to make mistakes. We, unfortunately, do more than our share of simply 'getting it wrong.' ... We don’t go deep enough into a story, or we miss pieces of information and perspective that would change readers’ perception of an issue."  (Read more)

The newspaper has a print circulation of 8,000 and 140,000 unique visitors to its Web site each month. Since adding the check box in May, reports are flowing in and the majority of submissions are worth reviewing, DeRienzo told the Columbia Journalism Review. "Probably from June, July, and September we got 100-plus substantial reports." And since they added the box to every story on the site a few weeks ago? "Four times that much." DeRienzo added, "One of the key things about it to make it successful is to report back regularly to readers about how it’s working," he says. "Don’t just make it so that people send [reports] out into the ether and don’t know if an editor has seen it or not." (Read more)

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