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Frequently Asked Questions — MediaBugs Blog

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is MediaBugs.org?

We’re a place on the Web (independent and not-for-profit) where you can bring specific errors, issues and problems you’ve found in media coverage in your community and try to get them fixed.

What’s a “media bug”?

In software, bugs are errors that cause programs to malfunction. A media bug is an error or problem that you find in a newspaper or magazine article, broadcast news report or online posting.

How do I use MediaBugs?

Visit our site and file a bug by filling out a simple form.

What happens when I file a bug?

Your bug will be posted on the Web on our site, and we will do our best to notify the media outlet involved and obtain a response from them. Depending on the nature of the bug, other visitors to MediaBugs may also post information and comments. If the media outlet corrects or otherwise resolves the bug it will be marked as “closed.”

Why can’t I just approach the media outlet directly?

You can and we hope that you do. Many media institutions, big and small, make it easy to approach them with such issues. But sometimes they don’t, or sometimes you point out a problem and never hear back from them. MediaBugs makes it easier to publicize an error or problem that might otherwise never see the light.

What if the media outlet never responds?

Then at least you’ve put the problem on the record, in public, on the Web, where other people can find it.

Why should I bother?

Because you know that good public information is the lifeblood of democracy. And that journalists are human beings who sometimes make mistakes. And that they work for institutions that don’t always respond to criticism. Instead of posting an angry rant on your blog or just shrugging your shoulders, MediaBugs will give you and those journalists a chance to have civil exchanges about the inevitable errors and problems that crop up in their work.

Who’s behind MediaBugs?

The project director is Scott Rosenberg. Advisers include Dan Gillmor, Bill Gannon, and Lane Becker. MediaBugs is proud to be funded by the Knight Foundation through its Knight News Challenge.

When does it start?

We’re in a planning and development stage right now. We’ll be blogging about it here and keep you posted on our progress. Our pilot community will be the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’ve got more questions / I want to know how to contribute…

That’s great — just email us at info [at] mediabugs.org Thanks!