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Bug #7722 closed:withdrawn

NYT Misstates Diaspora's Crowdfunding by Factor of 10

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This bug appeared in a news report published by New York Times on Jul 19, 2010 by Jeffrey Rosen. View the original news report.
Bug Type:  Simple Factual Error

Diaspora, an open-source project to create a federated system for social networking, raised just over $200,000 through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. Rosen stated the project raised $20,000.

Supporting Information:

The precise amount raised is listed at the Kickstarter site.


Glenn Fleishman has contacted New York Times and received the following response.

None yet.

Bug History

Jul 21, 2010 1:39 pm Open: Responded To Glenn Fleishman
Jul 21, 2010 1:39 pm Open Anonymous
Jul 22, 2010 2:18 pm Closed: Withdrawn Glenn Fleishman

Discussion Leave a comment

Technically this is outside of our Bay Area purview, but we took it to the Times anyway, since it seemed like a legitimate issue.

I just spoke with the head of research for the Times Magazine and walked him through the error report. I think the gears there may need to turn a little more but we're likely to see a correction soon.

Jul 22, 2010 1:50 pm

After a closer look the Times Mag research dept (Aaron Retica) says they won't correct. Rosen's piece reads:

"When four N.Y.U. students announced plans in April to build a free social-networking site called Diaspora, which wouldn’t compel users to compromise their privacy, they raised more than $20,000 from more than 700 backers in a matter of weeks."

The Times argues that these weeks are the weeks from the April announcement through the mid-May publication of a short Times story on the project, which cited a $23,000 figure for funds raised to that point. After the original Times coverage, the contributions plainly grew considerably, reaching the $200,000 amount now listed on Kickstarter, but all that happened after the time-frame cited in the article.

Jul 22, 2010 2:08 pm

Interesting. It seems to require nearly insider knowledge of the project to understand this distinction. The Kickstarter fundraising involved almost 6,500 contributors, and finished on June 1, which might be "in a matter of weeks" from April.

However, I can't disagree that rigidly defined, this isn't incorrect, but it excludes the greater success of the project (an order of magnitude higher), even if that came from the NYT writing about it.

Jul 22, 2010 2:18 pm