Tag Archives: online articles

SpinSpotter: unspinning online news?

Aimed at uncovering ‘bias and inaccuracy’ in online news stories, new service SpinSpotter has gone live.

The site, which describes itself as ‘very beta’, lets users install a special toolbar – Spinoculars – to identify, share and edit online articles, which they consider biased.

“I believe that journalism has become spin-heavy because journalists operate in an echo chamber. They eat with other journalists, socialize with them, and ride in cabs together. Closeness of groups can drive closeness of opinion and intellectual laziness,” said Todd Herman, founder and chief creative officer of SpinSpotter, in an open letter.

SpinSpotter has attempted to create an objective criteria for what is and what is not biased by working with US journalism schools and using the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

“Their [the journalism schools’] expert knowledge (…) were then combined with guided user input and sophisticated algorithms to identify each instance of bias and inaccuracy in online media, whether it is a reporter stating opinion as fact, an unattributed adjective, a paragraph lifted from a press release, or an expert source with a clear conflict of interest,” a press release from SpinSpotter said (it’s okay, I’ve flagged it up and linked to the release).

Looks like the Spinoculars are only available for Firefox at the minute. Once downloaded and turned on they’ll identify if elements of a news story have previously been identified by another SpinSpotter user.

You can also use them to select and report articles or parts of stories that are biased according to different ‘rules of spin’, whether its as a result of the reporter’s voice or a lack of balance.

SpinSpotter comes hot on the heels of NewsCred – a site aiming to gauge the credibility of news sources – launched late last month.

Press Gazette: Tory MP sues Telegraph for online libel

Alan Duncan MP is suing the group over two print articles and two online articles relating to a ‘sleaze inquiry’ into Conservative party members, which he claims were defamatory.

He is also seeking an injunction to prevent the allegations from being repeated.

Aftonbladet rolls out social network for readers

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has soft launched a new community for users called Snack, Media Culpa reports.

It is hoped the site, which lets users share comments, images and videos, will be populated by readers acting under their own names rather than anonymous pseudonyms.

According to Media Culpa, the newspaper will soon open up commenting facilities across its online articles to encourage even more user interaction with the site.

JEEcamp: pitch from Kyle McRae, ex-Scoopt

Entering the afternoon session at JEECamp, delegates have been invited to pitch their ‘journalism enterprise’ ideas to the floor.

Kyle McRae, who left photo agency Scoopt, which he founded, only a week ago, raised the idea of Qotz (working title), a community site, where online articles and content will be submitted and filtered on the basis of ‘pull quotes’.

The pull quote, says McRae, is the bait that draws the reader into an article and by tagging content in this way adds more value to the recommendation.

Content would then be searchable by pull quotes and categorised.

While suggesting the service would share similarities with Digg, McRae said there would be ‘no a-list bias’ e.g. no users would have more authority or privilege over others.

Answering a question on how Qotz would differ from del.ici.ous, he said: “del.ici.ous has limited value because it’s the same people recommending the same sites, without any real justification of why.”

Very much in its infancy, with McRae himself admitting he is 60/40 over whether this is a good idea (no indication of direction given) – but how useful would you find this?