Effective immediately, MediaBugs is expanding its service to handle error reports about media coverage anywhere in the United States. Previously, we limited our work to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Wherever you are in the U.S., and wherever in the country you find a media organization that you think has made a correctable error, MediaBugs is now available for you to use to try to get those errors corrected. You file an error report; we’ll make sure the media outlet knows about it, and try to get someone to respond.
We’ve also made some important changes to our site, some to accommodate this expanded focus and others just because we think they’ll work better.
- We’ve improved “Browse Bugs” features: Roll over the “Browse Bugs” link on our navigation bar, or click through to the “Browse Bugs” page, and you’ll see a new “Browse by region” feature and a US map. This will be an evolving interface to find bug reports and media outlets by location. Right now we’re featuring just a handful of population centers, but we expect the regional groupings to multiply as we receive bug reports from a wider area.
- We’re collecting and presenting more data about each media organization. Visit our “Browse bugs by media outlet” page and you’ll now see a current readout of the number of bug reports (total filed and currently open) related to that news organization, along with information we’ve collected about its error-correction practices online. We intend this feature to provide a database of media error-correction information that will evolve over time, and we plan to offer more tools over the coming year for users to explore and use this data.
- We’re featuring our new bookmarklet tool at the top of every page. The MediaBugs bookmarklet is a button you can install in your browser that gives you a MediaBugs error report form on any Web page. You can install it on most browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari for now) — just drag it from the top of our page right onto the toolbar. (Rename it something shorter if your toolbar’s already crowded!) Then click on the button any time you see an error on a media Web page, and you’ll get a MediaBugs report form that already has the page’s title/headline and URL in place.
- We’ve reorganized our home page a bit to provide a box of latest MediaBugs-related headlines and to show the logos of the media outlets whose bug reports we’re featuring. We think this says to the visitor, a little more loudly, that MediaBugs is all about fixing the news!
We’ve got some more projects and features to roll out over the coming weeks — stay tuned.
Here at MediaBugs we’re excited about this expansion. We’ve found that a lot of the exchanges we’ve had introducing MediaBugs to people went something like this: The listener would say, “What a great idea! You know, just the other day I saw this really unfortunate error in the X News about Y” — where both X and Y lie outside the Bay Area. And we’d have to say, “That’s really interesting, but unfortunately we are only covering the Bay Area right now.” Everyone would look glum, and the conversation would move on.
Now, instead, we can say: Go for it — file that bug!