and Face the State

Last week, I called Brad Jones, the Editor of the online news site, to discuss the impact on the election of stories published on blogs and online news sites, like his publication.

Face the State broke some interesting stories this election cycle, like this one. But the biggest election story from an online publication was Colorado Independent’s report that Republican Scott McInnis believes he could have beaten Democrat Mark Udall for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat. I discussed this in my column Saturday,

While I had Jones on the phone, I asked him why the url leads to the landing page of How did that happen?

Jones: They forgot to register all their domains. (laughter)

Jason: And so, are planning on keeping it forever? (laughter)

Jones: Oh, it is what it is. (laughter)

Jason: I mean, have they asked you for it?

Jones: No, you know, everything has a price. We are an independent Colorado news organization.

Jason: Do you think in the spirit of, what’s the word, you know, encouraging online journalism, that you would…-and a sense of professionalism…-be inclined to give it back to them?

Jones: Give it back to them? Look, if Cara or Wendy want to give me a call about the domain name, they can give me a call. I’m not a hard person to reach.

Jason: How’d you happen to notice that? Was it you?

Jones: Yes. You know, I own all the variants on mine. It’s basic brand protection.

In a column last year, I looked the 10 most recent news stories in the Colorado Independent and Face the State to see which online publication more often engaged in perhaps the most basic of professional journalistic practices: seeking a response from the person criticized or scrutinized in an article.

I found the Colorado Independent was much more likely to include opposing views in its articles.

Jones says that since I did my analysis, Face the State has “changed and grown and evolved,” and the Independent has also “reinvented itself” and its “staff has grown.”

“If you revisit that issue of how often we contact both parties of the story, as compared to what they do, I think hands down we are much more aggressive in our efforts to bring in opposing view points. We’re not always perfect, and I disagree with your initial analysis on that too, but, I mean, more of what we do is journalism. A lot of what they are doing now is blogging with quotes sprinkled in.”

I told Jones that I’d like to do the analysis again, and I asked him if he would join me in evaluating the stories over a given time period. Jones said, “Sure.”

I had hoped to hear back from Colorado Independent Editor Cara DeGette about whether she’d be willing to participate in a similar review of her stories. But, unfortunately, as I was completing this blog post, Westword confirmed that the Independent had laid off six employees on Monday.

So I’ll have to report on DeGette’s answer another time. But I’ll let you know, maybe in a few months, how my joint undertaking with Jones goes.


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