Monday, April 5, 2010

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times

It's Monday, time for some depressing news. Actually, it's both buoyant and depressing. The Los Angeles Times reports, at a time when magazines are optimistic since the new iPad seems perfect for magazines and the industry appears to be tailoring its product to the new platform, that journalistic standards are lower than ever in the magazine business.

Reporting on a survey of magazine publishers, the Times says that "about half of the respondents said that copy-editing standards for their websites were looser than for their print editions. An additional 11% said that online content wasn't copy-edited at all. The numbers for fact checking were even more troubling: 40% said that web standards were looser than print, and 17% said that they did no fact checking whatsoever online."

The report, by Victor Navasky of Columbia University and Evan Lerner of, then gets into a "speed versus accuracy" discussion, which I think is the crux. If a magazine expects me to pay (and they do), they'd better give me accuracy. I don't pay $60 a year for the New Yorker (as I do) for speed; I pay it for accuracy. I'm not going to pay a lesser amount for inaccurate stories online -- I can find enough of them for free.

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