by Mike Masnick

A Zagat's For Journalists: Rate News Sources On Many Criteria

from the changing-face-of-media dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about Pay Per Click Journalism in Chile, where a newspaper publisher is going to base salaries on how many clicks reporters' stories get on the paper's website. Sam Whitmore saw that story and started to think about what it meant, leading to a proposal for a Zagat's style ratings system for news sources, where anyone could come along and rate news sources on a large number of criteria, building up an overall "review" of the source. He called me up (early in the morning) to ask what I thought of it, and my response (in his article) is to worry if publications would then "write to the test" -- trying to hit on just those criteria. Sam's response, appropriately enough, is that at least these metrics would be much more broadly applicable and useful than something simple like clicks on a website, as seen in the situation in Chile. He's absolutely right. However, since our conversation, I've been thinking a bit more about it, and I still wonder how well it would work. People seem to get much more personal about news sources, and accusations of bias from one side or the other could lead to very polarized results. Still, it would definitely be an interesting experiment, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it show up soon enough.

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  • identicon
    Marsha, 4 Dec 2004 @ 8:40am

    Interesting idea ...

    But I still worry about what it would mean for some types of stories, like investigative stories that might not be immensely popular yet are necessary for the media to be a watchdog. I saw Whitmore mentioned coming up with some kind of scale that would incorporate "traditional" media values/purposes in the survey. That might address it, but I'm still skeptical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous coward, 5 Dec 2004 @ 8:01am

      Business plan

      Search sites are looking to integrate news as fast as they can. Yahoo, Google, LookSmart, and others need better ways to sort the news, give it priority and relevance.
      These sites need to get people to trust them as much as they trust the editors at the New York Times, who do the same thing with the stories submitted by their reporters. Well, perhaps trust them more than that...
      Enter Sam Whitmore's idea. Big money here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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