The price of transparency

The price of transparency is £5. At least that’s what it will cost you to see the whole of this clarification at the Northumberland Gazette.

£5 pounds will get you the full correction
£5 pounds will get you the full correction

Perhaps it’s an unforseen problem of paywalls or just an oversight on the part of the paper. But it does highlight an area for some rethinking. Particularly from the PCC who are supposed to regulate this kind of thing.

Due prominence

A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.

So says the Editors Code of practice from the PCC. There have been many ways that newspapers have dealt with this – more often than not in a corrections and clarifications section buried deep in the middle of the paper.

But I suppose we also need to start thinking about these things being buried deep behind the paywall. And if paywalls are the future then perhaps the PCC needs to think long and hard about the way it requires those at fault to say sorry and correct mistakes. It also made me think that we should all maybe pay a bit more attention as well.

Show me how good you are

If I am going to pay someone for this stuff then one of the things I should want to know is just how accurate their content is and how transparent they are.

I for one would like to see all corrections and clarifications made free and visible on all parts of media orgs websites before the paywall. That way I can make an informed choice.

Thanks to Josh Halliday for pointing this little gem out on Twitter.

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5 Replies to “The price of transparency”

  1. While I understand why you’ve posted this, there is actually some weird logic to it.
    The PCC requires due prominence and as the original story presumably appears behind the pay wall, then it makes sense the correction does too.
    The logic of corrections being published separately applied to print would mean that paid for newspapers would produce separate freesheets just for corrections; that might seem just as absurd as this does.

  2. Thanks James.

    I don’t think the logic stretches quite that far. Perhaps it’s more like saying if your cock up a frontpage story you should publish the apology on the front page. But I think my basic point is still fair.

    Regardless of that though issue is one of transparency. We are often told that the value of the media vs citizen media/social media (or whatever the industry is calling it this week) is the fact checking, the reputation – the trust. If that value is going to be explicitly defined behind a paywall that should still be no protection from maintaining those standards. Not least because to do hide the mistakes as well as the content behind a paywall woould simply prove them to be double standards.

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