Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SpinSpotter.com Ready To Call Out Media Bias

SpinSpotter, a new start-up, could send shivers across many a newsroom. The Web tool, which went live Monday at the DEMO technology conference in San Diego, scans news stories for signs of spin. Users download Spinoculars, a toolbar that sits atop the browser and lets readers know if the story they are reading has any phrases or words that indicate bias. (It works only in Firefox now and will work in Internet Explorer in a couple weeks.) It highlights those phrases in a big red box, and readers can click to find out what exactly SpinSpotter found wrong with the phrase. The Spinoculars find spin in three ways, said Mr. Herman. First, it uses an algorithm to seek out phrases that violate six transgressions that the company’s journalism advisory board came up with based on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. They are personal voice, passive voice, a biased source, disregarded context, selective disclosure and lack of balance. Soon SpinSpotter will add a feature that will alert readers if a story uses suspiciously similar language to a press release.


No comments: