This week’s assignment is threefold:

  1. You have been appointed the public editor or ombudsman for a news organization online. It’s your job to draft a policy covering changes to articles published online, including corrections and clarifications. How will these be handled? What will be communicated to site visitors? (I will do this policy for Mashable.com, since it is the company I chose, and it also functions as an online news agency.)
  2. As an adjunct to No. 1, draft a policy covering how crowdsourced content should be attributed. YouTube, for example, does this at http://www.youtube.com/t/press_broadcasting#rebroadcast.
  3. You did such a great job as public editor, your news organization has named you chief digital officer. It’s now up to you to hire a vice president of social media. Write the job description.

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The following policy goes into effect immediately regarding corrections and clarifications to already-published articles. 

Timeliness
If at any point after publication of an article, any member of the editorial team is informed of a mistake:

  • A writer will immediately be charged with correcting the story on our website.
  • Notification of the correction (and the correction itself) shall be posted at the top level of the story–underneath the headline and byline.
  • All corrections must be posted within 2 business days of notification.

Journalistic Integrity
It is of the utmost importance that we maintain good journalism practices at Mashable. If there is a mistake so grievous that it has a significant impact on the published story, we will also post an updated story across platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Responsibility
If any employee sees an error on an article or is contacted by a reader that there is an error, report it to your supervisor immediately. Corrected stories will also be followed by a brief standard apology, outlined below.

“Mashable and its editorial team apologize for confusion or misinformation due to a factual error in the above story. We welcome readers bringing any errors that get published to our attention. We do our very best to provide honest, objective information to you, our readers. In the event that an error is published, we will issue a correction as soon as it is discovered. Thank you.”

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The following policy goes into effect immediately regarding crowdsourcing information for published articles.

All content published on Mashable.com will be attributed to its original source (with a link, where appropriate). Due to the nature of Mashable, it is not uncommon to use information that may be provided by readers via social media. For any content that is submitted and published by a non-staff member, the following information must accompany the published article:

  • Byline with first and last name
  • State of residency (city if user wishes)

To ensure that we can vet user contributions, you must also obtain the following, for internal purposes either. This information will not be published.

  • A working phone number (for verification purposes only)
  • Address of residency (for verification purposes only)

Mashable.com management and editorial staff is responsible for all content published on the site. Therefore anyone wishing to publish “crowdsourced” information must fact-check the information before publishing.Any article published as a crowdsourced document (or with crowdsourced information) should include that the contributor(s) are employed or paid by Mashable.
_______________________________________________________________
Job description: Vice President of Social Media

Mashable’s Vice President of Social Media’s responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring content on all social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and any social sites that may be added in the future.
    • Answering questions posted to social media sites (or delegating another member of the editorial team to answer).
    • “Monitoring” duties includes deleting crude comments (defined as clearly racist, sexist or unnecessarily offensive to the community).
    • Referring questions and concerns to another member of the editorial staff if applicable.
  • Ensuring that content posted on social media sites is relevant and applicable. Editorial teams can also update these pages, so it is the VP’s job to ensure that content is appropriate throughout the day.
  • All social media updates should highlight published and developing stories, including both written and visual content. When appropriate, archived stories can be posted as long as they are relevant.
  • Posting to social networking sites in the event of breaking news.

The ideal candidate should:

    • Have strong organizational skills both digitally and physically
    • 5-7 years of experience in marketing and social media
    • Have at least a Bachelor’s degree
    • Work well in teams
    • Work efficiently through delegation and effective management
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