2018 Finalist

Reader Critics


Oslo, Norway

Category Best New Corporate Innovation Initiative

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

With our application Reader Critics, we want to reclaim trust and transparency in online mainstream media.

We aim to fix a problem that stems from a clash of cultures between the old-school walled garden journalism and the open collaborative content creation we find in new-school online media.

Our contribution is a simple yet effective stand-alone application for the readers to help us correct mistakes. 

The application lets the reader open up an article in a fragmented mode where each text element like title and paragraphs can be opened up with a form to give direct feedback in the text. This narrows the focus for feedback and the result is that it becomes more precise and raise the overall quality of the feedback compared to open comments or email. 

The feedback is then sent directly to the journalist and structured to be fast and easy to read, with the CMS just a click away to fix the error. Efficiency is important.

This crowdsourced fact check tool is designed to change editorial culture towards openness, transparency, accuracy and a humble approach to readers and facts. The system learns reporters and editors to write less errors and less biased. It also helps us discover false sources, viral hoaxes and clickbait.

The readers love the simplicity and the openness, the journalists love the structure and short way to fix the errors, the editors love it for the control and raised quality of their publication.

In the next weeks as of writing we will introduce a feedbackfunction that notifies users know if an article has been updated, and a function for sending a Editors Digest report about yesterday and articles that remain to be fixed.

This year we redid the whole application from a prototype we had been testing, hand has now released it as Open Source available for everyone else to use.

Results for this campaign

We have run the application for some time, and our results so far is as following.

The system keeps the editorial staff on their toes. The introduction of the system also helps changing the culture and set a focus on this issue in the editorial room. It raises discussions and thus has contributed to what we see as a lower amount of error sneaking into our articles. 

The feedback from the users are unanimously positive. They tell us that the system makes it easy for them and gives them an area to contribute.

Since the feedback itself aren’t published anywhere the amount of trolling is microscopic compared with what we earlier experienced in the comments section in our articles that is now removed.

The readers don’t like it when errors they report aren’t fixed. Although most of the time they are, just not as fast as the readers expect. That’s why we keep innovating by sending the users a notice when the article is updated. 

Over all this has however proven to be a powerful tool to help the organization address the issues on many levels and follow up on them.


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