In a good, clear, insightful post, Ken Doctor rather mourns the passing of good old-fashioned subbing, but then wonders if there might be something to having a good subs team – and whether news sites who have it should shout about it:
True news media from the Times and Post to the MinnPosts and Texas Tribunes can place a statement (or least a prominent link to it) of their news principles in a similar place on their sites. It could be anywhere from a manifesto to a disclosure, worded by each online publication as it sees fit. If, though, we can get some agreement on similar placement, then readers can learn over time â€” and schools can teach â€” how readers can begin to critically evaluate digital information sources.
In such a statement, it would be great to include who pays for the content produced, what kinds of fairness and conflict-of-interest principles to which the site adheres (or doesnâ€™t) and important practices â€” like editing.
I think it’s a great question, and would at least attempt to answer the question of whether readers actually care how accurate or well-subbed a story is. My sense is that some or most readers of some types of titles probably do care – but how much, and to what commercial value, is a mystery.