“I worked at Newsweek for five years. Reporters would write stories with a whole bunch of ‘tk’s so a fact checker could go do it. What kind of accountability is that? $100,000-a-year people depending on someone making $25,000 to get their story right.”
tk tk tk tkt tk tk tumblr intern fill in response here.
whoa, way too much back-patting going on here. i worked at Forbes for 4 years, including ~3 as an assistant/fact-checker (this was before DVorkin’s entrance). Forbes writers also left tks up to fact-checkers. Let’s not get all choked up about process or efficiency, or point fingers. Fact-checking at Forbes was essentially eliminated because they laid off all the fact-checkers.
this Poytner piece is all well and good…for a big, fat sloppy blowjob that misses the point. Forbes exists today, not as a model of journalism, but of content. there is a difference. 99% of what’s on that site would’ve never made it into the site years ago, nor would it make into print today. The site is riddled with stories that generate traffic from trending topics and buzzy pieces from other news outlets. Often, it’s just smart aggregation. Great for traffic, smart curation, but not journalism.
And while there’s no traditional fact-checking, there is a lot of after-the-fact checking. “The audience spots issues a lot,” DVorkin said. “The audience is as much your editor now as an editor is your editor.”
Asserting that the audience now functions as a fact-checking entity and an editor should be a punchline. Seriously, is this a parody? A “newsroom” so concerned with churning out as much copy as possible with as many unpaid, unedited writers as possible in order to garner as many eyeballs as possible on disposable content that’s unreliable is not the hallmark of the next great model of journalism. it’s a content farm.
to be clear, kudos to Forbes for finding a way to make money in a bleak business. let’s just not call it “journalism” or gild it as an improvement.