Magazine Migration

March 15, 2010 • Digital News, Ethics and Quality • by

What happens when magazines move online?

According to a Columbia Journalism Review study, they get sloppy.  Led by former Nation editor Victor Navasaky, the study surveyed 665 magazines of varying circulation size, analyzing the online practices of print magazines.  Goals include 1.) uncovering the best and worst online practices, 2.) clarifying journalistic standards for new media and 3.) aiding journalists and media companies in devising profitable models that adhere to high quality standards of newsgathering.

Navasaky’s findings point to disorderly, if not tumultuous Web standards. Fifty-four percent of surveyed sites admit that mistake corrections are never indicated to readers and 59 percent report that online copy-editing is less exhaustive than in print or worse, completely absent. When Web editors (rather than print editors) oversee content, fact-checking plummets.  And for the most part, sites are staffed by people who primarily work for parent print magazines, though decision-making structures appear to vary widely.

From more alarming, yet not entirely discouraging results, see CJR.

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