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Does Fact Checking Get Tossed with New Scholarship? The Chronicle Thinks So

It’s been almost a month since I blogged about the Chronicle of Higher Education, the “flagship” of the ivory tower had published on their web site misinformation that it had scooped from some other blog sites on a story about the 2007 NMC Horizon Report. The Chronicle wrote on December 17 that the 2007 report was “released last week” when it was published on January 21, 2007 at the annual EDUCAUSE/ELI Conference, where I am fairly sure I recall there were Chronicle reporters in attendance.

I duly noted this in a comment.

Apparently, the Chronicle website, labeled at the top as “The Wired Campus” does not get or pay attention to comments on its site, does not monitor blog trackback, does not use web 2.0 tools to monitor references to their stories from elsewhere on the internet. Man, are those ivory walls thick! I bet wireless signals cannot penetrate.

My colleagues at EDUCAUSE, who are are partners on the Horizon Report, are doing the New Scholarship thang as they keep forwarding me more and more blogs, from academics, who keep parrot meming the same wrong information- the latest one.

So is checking facts something that falls out of the wash on New Scholarship? What about correcting incorrect information? Do we need a flame thrower to get the attention of the Chronicle? (doubtful that will work, there are those thick walls). Actually I know I could call someone, but the point, to me, is not to just fix the misinformation, but to point out the perils of acting like Web 2.0 rather than acting in a Web 2.0 mindset.

I am not saying we have to be perfect in publishing, and I am first to admit I have gotten things wrong before, But darn it, if you get something wrong, and people bring it to your attention, why would you not correct it? Why would you let wrong information hang out in the breeze?

Yes, this is minor (and IMHO disturbing), but someone has to stir up the pot…

So for the 2008 Horizon Report, I am suggestion we put in giant 80 point text, HEY CHRONICLE! THIS REPORT WAS PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 28, 2008!

Flamethrower…. ignite!

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. I’ve gotta agree with your sentiments!! Definitely! I also love your succinct explanation of the importance of social networking – “the perils of acting like Web 2.0 rather than acting in a Web 2.0 mindset”. Here, borrow my flame thrower!

  2. Why pay any attention to the Chronicle?

    The Chronicle has been sgtridently anti-technology for as long as I’ve known about it, and the standard of its reportage on technology issues has been almost uniformly poor. No news there.

    But as a result, the Chronicle has been increasingly irrelevant as time goes by. Nobody who is involved in education and technology gets their serious opinions from the Chronicle, and it is not the news source of first – or last – record on these matters.

    Let the Chronicle continue to pander to the puttering set, and let’s move forward without it.

  3. Stephen, I don’t pay much attention; I don’t follow their feed, don’t check their web site. But I am using this as a good example of NOT what to do for your organization ;-)

  4. I’m the hapless academic who saw the report referred to as “recent” and blogged it. But the ref I saw was ArsTechnica, not the Chronicle. I don’t tend to read the Chronicle.

    Sorry for getting the newness wrong!

    Here’s a constructive suggestion for the next report: Put a release date on it, so that when it begins to float around the blogosphere everyone will see when exactly it came out.

    Susan

  5. Susan,

    Did not mean to insult you, only the Chronicle ;-) There is a long list of people who did the same, including Ars Technica. We *think* the source was a posting on a Library listserv on December 10 that summarize the report (I have a copy of it) — it never says “just published” but the way it is written it might be construed that way (it was more like “just found”).

    And yes on your suggestion; I asked our writers to put a timestamp on the next ne.

  6. Hi Alan. Thanks for calling that to our attention. We fixed the item. We always welcome story pitches and other suggestions on how we can make our technology coverage better.

  7. A fascinating comment thread, for sure; a short story in six episodes. Good reading.

    I agree that the Chronicle is typically spotty or worse in its technology coverage, and they’re certainly guilty (as are many other MSM sources) of acting like Web 2.0 without acting in it. Another instance of the need for being there. On the other hand, I can’t agree with Stephen that we can just ignore it. For better or worse, far more administrators and faculty on my campus talk about something they “saw in the Chronicle” than about anything they see in a blog, or in an EDUCAUSE publication, or any other newspaper or periodical (unless it’s the New York Times). The Chronicle is the closest thing we have to a newspaper of record, at least in the US, and I think we still need to press them for better, fairer, more informed coverage of technology in education. Clearly your efforts in this very post have borne fruit, Alan. Kudos!

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