Friday, May 1, 2009

Free market editting?

AP reports that 55 reporters and editors at the ailing Chicago Tribune have sent an email to the bosses, asking why the paper was allowing the marketing department to survey subscribers to find out their opinions on stories BEFORE they were published. Ugh.

Those who signed the email cited a number of problems with the practice, including ethical ones. I guess.

From the AP story:

"It is a fundamental principle of journalism that we do not give people outside the newspaper the option of deciding whether or not we should publish a story, whether they be advertisers, politicians or just regular readers," the e-mail read. "Focus grouping as done in the past is one thing. But this appears to break the bond between reporters and editors in a fundamental way."

The reporters and editors also said many have become uncomfortable that the marketing department appeared to be playing an undefined role in the newsroom.

No one will say what stories were under consideration or whether reader response shaped editorial decisions. Still. Scary practice that is unlikely to end well: It's like measuring news value by the click. bk

1 comment:

tom said...

It is supposed to be a NEWS paper dammit!!! It is not supposed to simply tell people what they want to know. We have sycophants to perform that function. If the public were ro determine the news, then Watergate, torture memos and photos, among other things would never come to light.