Read about a publication that is working to maintain its quality journalistic and publication standards in its online version.
‘Digital Vintage’ by Nick Miller tells how The New Yorker magazine, with its old-fashioned publishing values, still works hard to maintain its standards with its web version.
Editing for Accuracy
While online media lends itself to heavily opinionated writing, The New Yorker is still obsessed with journalistic values. Henry Finder, the editorial director of magazine says, “The objective of journalism isn’t fairness, it’s accuracy.”
For Finder, being objective isn’t about presenting both (or all) sides of the story; rather, it is about being scrupulously accurate. The magazine uses a diligent team of fact checkers to ensure that all facts and claims are verified—refreshing in the era of say it first, check it later (if you get caught out).
They do admit, however, that for the web, the necessity of fast turnaround for blog posts limits the amount of their “legendary fact checking” that can be done. Instead, they make sure that the right person is used for each job. But even they acknowledge that mistakes do get through.
The New Yorker is standing its ground, maintaining its voice and tone, across the media. They still obsess over grammar, punctuation and usage, and recognise that their ‘personality’, as described by Pam McCarthy, the magazine’s deputy editor looking after the digital version, “may be in some ways sometimes more formal, more reserved than others”. She continues, “but I think it’s [the web] still a place where we want to be.”
The magazine takes the view that they will only maintain their authority by adhering to the standards they are renowned for.
Being true to yourself is how you maintain credibility, even on social media platforms. Or as the social media commentator, Laurel Papworth says, be authentic.
Online and Social Media Take-up
The New Yorker was actually an early arrival to online publishing. While it has been criticised for having only a small proportion of its content available for free, this isn’t slowing down the digital take-up.
The New Yorker is also embracing social media successfully—currently 1,723,807 followers on twitter (@NewYorker) and 490,782 likes on facebook (The New Yorker), as well as being on tumblr, google+, and pinterest.
So, be a little like The New Yorker. It’s still worthwhile to take care with your online content. Check your writing—spelling, punctuation, grammar and usage. Your readers will thank you for it.
Could you benefit from paying a little more attention to the detail when publishing online?
First published 21 Aug 2012; republished 1 Jul 2016