Rethinking the role of news ombudsman: "aggregate, curate, debate" (which would mean linking to sites like AYR)
These pieces highlighted how strange the ombudsman’s job has become, and why I think it needs to be updated in this networked age. Here’s how I’d change it, and I hope both of these men will consider at least adding some of these ideas to their portfolio. There would be two main approaches: aggregation and conversation.Sure, I think that's a wise idea. After all, it could mean that someone inside the building takes seriously critiques like the one I posted of the Times's bizarro decision to fold in coverage of the lawsuit against BUILD into an article about a promotion for the Nets.
The best media criticism of every news organization is being done outside its walls. I would stop writing my own critiques, and then:
- Make it a core part of my role to aggregate every responsible critique of the organization’s work that I could find;
- Call bullshit when the critics are wrong; and thank them when they are right;
- Encourage the best critics cross-post on my page.
- Strongly encourage newsroom staff to participate in these debates. UPDATE: Brisbane got a reply from the Times’ editor, Jill Abramson, and replied to that; good to see…
- Ask readers to flag mistakes of fact and analysis, and put the corrections (easier with facts) into a database with or without the cooperation of the newsroom
- Create a robust, open forum about the organization’s work.