Is There A Need For A Dedicated Journalism Outfit To 'Follow Up' On News?

from the that's-not-news,-that's-olds... dept

Over at Nieman Lab there’s an interesting post wondering if, following the recent Wikileaks publishing of nearly 100,000 documents on the Afghan war, there would really be any follow through on the reporting — and wondering if it makes sense to have a news organization dedicated to following up on stories that other news organizations have dropped. As the article notes, plenty of reporters focus on the next big thing — the next “breaking” story. It is called news after all. But there isn’t nearly as much attention given to following up with stories after they break.

While I find the discussion interesting, I have to admit that I’m not convinced of the premise. After all, there are plenty of news stories that live on for a while, if the “follow up” events are considered newsworthy. And certainly, on niche topics, there are plenty of dedicated folks who follow those stories all the time. So an organization that just does follow through doesn’t necessarily make sense, because the problem isn’t necessarily the lack of follow-up, but the lack of newsworthy information to come out of such follow-ups.

Filed Under: ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Is There A Need For A Dedicated Journalism Outfit To 'Follow Up' On News?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Apparently since it is a blue laser it’s dangerous either way, the power of one of the models(S3 Spyder Arctic) was cited as 2500mW, so 20% would be 500mW or a class 2 type laser, which still is pretty powerful, a GPON unity that can harm your eyes also is a class 3B and use half that energy moreless.

Lighting Matches with CNI Green 500mW Laser

Damage mechanisms

Lasers can cause damage in biological tissues, both to the eye and to the skin, due to several mechanisms. [3] Thermal damage, or burn, occurs when tissues are heated to the point where denaturation of proteins occurs. Another mechanism is photochemical damage, where light triggers chemical reactions in tissue. Photochemical damage occurs mostly with short-wavelength (blue) and ultra-violet light and can be accumulated over the course of hours. Laser pulses shorter than about 1 μs can cause a rapid raise in temperature, resulting in explosive boiling of water.


Lutomes (profile) says:

Real Journalism

I very much like the idea. Too much these days is news full of random stories that look promising but without a post action follow up are just disappointing.

Sure the response on its own might not be newsworthy – but how many times have you read a news article then a week or a month later just wondered “hmm I wondered what happened with xyz issue” then looked around for ages only to find out of dozens of people covering the original issue nobody followed through to the outcome.

All the news agencies seem to want is headline news that causes people to either rage or get happy. All instant gratification with no substance.

Matthew R. says:

“Produce, publish, move on.” I think the point he’s trying to make is that just because there isn’t something new that’s’ newsworthy, that there still should in some cases be some follow up. I agree that I don’t believe there needs to for a news organization dedicated to following up stories, but I do believe that there is a need for the major news outlets to be more active in following up their stories. This mentality in the media is one of the big reasons behind the stagnation of change and advancement of US culture. News breaks, people rage, new news comes out, and they rage about that forgetting the last thing. The simple fact that there is “no new news” can actually be news in and of itself — people were upset about this, why was nothing ever done?

Not to downplay the importance of niche news outlets in the sharing of information within the relevant communities, but major change simply does not occur without the will of the public majority. Want patent and copyright reform? Take the workers and owners of those small companies being sued into oblivion by multi-nationals, or being harassed into blackmail payments by patent trolls, little old ladies being sued by the RIAA for downloading Ludacris’s You’z A Hoe and put them in the spotlight of the major national news sources. Then two weeks later, after people hollered a bit, made a few idle threats, and moved onto the next news story, find that little lady still trying to convince the RIAA she doesn’t even know who Ludacris is, and those small business owners trying to decide between making a living or standing up to a bully, and put them back in that spotlight. And keep putting them back in that spotlight until people realize that nothing is being done — that if they, and everyone else just, follows the major media and moves onto the next “news worthy” story nothing will change.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

mr. sim (profile) says:

there is also a need for ethics to ******* return. posting things getting people killed, posting unsubstantiated blog posts and twitter comments as fact. and the fact that shows like the o’rielly factor and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart aren’t forced to have a disclaimer saying that it’s entertainment tv and not a legitimate news program is sickening.

WendyNorris (profile) says:

discard the temporal news cycle

I’m not convinced that a separate entity should be tackling follow-ups/updates as it’s a responsibility of the original reporter. Nor is there a clear revenue model for this type of service.

While some stories could be fairly easily extended beyond the ludicrous and outdated 24-hour news cycle, investigative and enterprise reporting is often premised on tips, whistleblower information and non-public documents that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate as a third party.

And then there’s always the risk of advancing a story that incites the media’s frivolous copyright/fair use/hot news trigger finger.

I’d be more inclined to argue that providing news updates is a part of the larger editorial crisis in the news industry. What a great qualitative differentiator for a newsroom in today’s media glut to provide interesting “where are they now?” pieces, interactive timelines and updates.

And since a girl can dream … I’d add prominent corrections to news stories and clear public action steps on my wish list too since they’re also important elements of the follow-up that rarely occur. is doing some of the latter with a third-party social action petition widget that pulls from news story keywords but it’s pretty rudimentary.

Still the bigger public service here is to free the news industry from the artificial constraints of temporal news pegs that still heavily determine content. The scarcity of follow-up is an easily resolved tweak to a cludgy editorial direction and doesn’t really appear to be a sound, revenue-generating enterprise opportunity.

WendyNorris (profile) says:

Re: discard the temporal news cycle

Another easy remedy is for editors to encourage/model/require reporters to wade into online comments to respond to reader questions and tips. Likewise, broadcast journalists, could set aside a :60 next day segment to respond on air to questions for future follow-up.

Seriously, it’s not that hard to solve if one can get past the calcified notion of newsrooms as moat-encircled information gatekeepers isolated from its community.

Clueby4 says:

I woundn't mind a bit more follow-up

Not only are followups sparse they’re hard to find when they do exist. For example the Recent Posse Comitatus violations.

Tho it’s probably a pipe dream it would be nice if the NEWS industry could create a standard identification code to reference news eventsarticles. Something based on a hash of the 5 W’s with a presuffix that identifies the news organization that can be removed in order to find similar reports of an eventNEWS item. And such a system would also provide a means to filter for specific NEWS items.

John Doe says:

I think it exists already ...

Mike Masnick,

1. I believe you can technically achieve do this through Google by keywords for their news section.

I was really looking forward to this being adopted by google already, but still in the labs.

3. Topix offers a lot of various categories that it continuously updates.

4. I am pretty there is one more news search engine out there that is fairly new that does this too.

Ideally, I would like to see a Google News Article offer all the following:

1. Towards the right or bottom a decent size logo of the company it is sourcing.

2. Same direction, a link back.

3. Same direction, a rss feed from the original source.

4. Same direction, a google rss feed for this news category.

5. Same direction, a google rss feed for the article keywords if not a living story.

6. The option to create a rss on the fly based on my keywords or suggested keywords for this story.

7. Email subscriptions would be nice to for those who don’t use RSS feeds.

I know some of the above are already implemented, just giving my two cents …

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...