Friday, January 10, 2020

The 'Beast' Within


This is a little in the journalism weeds, but I'd actually love to hear from my media friends and normal people who just consume it. If you read an online story published in 2012 that was flagged that it had been "updated" in 2017, would you expect some sort of explanation appended? Or is this something you think is acceptable in the days of online journalism? (Keep in mind that most content-management systems have the ability to republish without changing the timestamp for instances just fixing a very minor typo or spacing issue.)

I realize I have always worked for large news organizations where corrections and clarifications must always be included on any story that is altered after publication. But this seems like a particularly eye-raising situation -- a five-year gap. So needless to say, I was taken aback when I asked a senior editor at The Daily Beast -- to whom I was referred by a friend of mine who also works there -- about it and he immediately became hostile. Even after I told him I was just interested in their policy in general if he didn't have any firsthand knowledge of this particular story he doubled down -- although it was still unclear on what other than that I was being "terribly annoying" and "very annoying."

Appreciate your input.

UPDATE: Thank you to the anonymous reader who pointed out my typo!

7 comments:

Edgar_Carpenter said...

I agree that an article updated after awhile - how long depends on the magnitude of the update - should say what was updated and why.

If the Daily Beast editor was upset at your questions, it was because being a good journalist takes more time and effort than being a slap-dash blog writer, and requires more training and money. The Daily Beast wants to be thought of as a reputable news outlet, but does not want to spend the time and money to do journalism correctly.

Ric Denton said...

I would definitely expect an appendage with clarification or new information about the original story. As much as I detest spelling and grammar errors, I don't think correcting them warrants a publicly announced update and re-pub.

Jim Hopkins said...

An update after such a long time probably involved something more substantial than correcting typos, spelling, etc. So, yes, I’d want a note at the top detailing the new information.

Lois said...

Yeah, I’d want to know what was needing updating. Sounds like maybe a lawsuit finally got settled or something.

Katie Rass said...

Usually if we update something on that kind of time frame it's for SEO/traffic reasons, and we only add corrections for fact errors. (Though you're right that our CMS wouldn't automatically note that... Maybe they just wanted a more recent pubdate on it for some reason?) But if someone asked, I'd definitely not be a dick about it.

Jesse Fox Mayshark said...

Any actual updates or substantive changes should be clearly noted, and if it’s just an SEO reposting the publication should have a policy publicly stated somewhere explaining what it means if you see an old story reposted without any changes. That’s easy to do and important for transparency.

Jacks said...

Here are links to both articles (using the Wayback Machine). I don't see any difference except for the brief information that's part of the headline:

https://web.archive.org/web/20120616160125/http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/16/singer-cindy-bullens-goes-public-she-s-becoming-cidny-a-man.html

https://www.thedailybeast.com/singer-cindy-bullens-goes-public-shes-becoming-cidny-a-man?ref=scroll

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