Report: Magazines’ Websites Don’t Have Same Copy Standards As Print

Shocking! A Columbia Journalism Review report set to come out later today reportedly claims that websites published by magazines, do not share the same standards for copy editing, proof reading nor research. Why is this so? Perhaps because websites often do not have the budgets nor staff to proof read and vet every article ever to be published (as readers of Mediaite can attest.) Do writers and editors for the web treat their words less preciously than those in print? Yes – for one can always go back and fix an online article. Not so in print. Advantage Web?

Writing for the NY Times, Stephanie Clifford reports:

Copy-editing requirements online were less stringent than those in print at 48 percent of the magazines. And 11 percent did not copy-edit online-only articles at all.

A similar trend held with fact-checking. Although 57 percent of the magazines fact-check online submissions in the same way they fact-check print articles, 27 percent used a less-stringent process. And 8 percent did not fact-check online-only content at all. (The other 8 percent did not fact-check either print or online articles.)

There was also variance in how corrections were indicated to readers. Almost all of the magazine sites — 87 percent — corrected minor errors, like typos and misspellings, without telling readers of the change. And 45 percent of the sites changed factual errors without letting readers know they had gotten it wrong.

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