Public Editor Press initiates Boston-area ad campaign
December 12, 2018 (Acton, MA)
Public Editor Press has embarked on a Facebook advertising campaign to launch its new website, Public Editor MA (www.PublicEditorMA.com), focused on media criticism of the Boston Globe, the region’s largest daily newspaper.
Over 100 news journalists have had their work rated for media bias, resulting in individual grades for journalists and a “Best of” and “Worst of” rating for the top and bottom reporters. And dozens of editorial columns have been reviewed under the Media Criticism banner as well, showing why presenting both sides of issues should be important for Globe readers.
“The Boston Globe used to have on staff an ombudsman, who was responsible for responding to issues related to fairness of media coverage and reader complaints, but that position was eliminated years ago. Without that internal watchdog, coverage has deteriorated,” according to Public Editor MA publisher Allen Nitschelm. “There is no internal watchdog, and the research we have published shows biased news coverage and lack of balance of editorial opinions,” he said.
“Particularly telling is the bias in the Letters to the Editor section, which used to serve as a balance to the paper’s editorial opinions. Now, they mirror one-another,” Nitschelm said.
Public Editor MA has rated hundreds of Boston Globe news articles for media bias, earning the paper an overall bias grade of C+. “This is a very poor performance result, as newspapers should be striving to publish news articles without bias,” Nitschelm said. “New England’s largest professional news organization should be doing a much better job at fairness in their news coverage.”
Editorial opinion pieces are also heavily weighted to one side, Nitschelm reported. “In October, the month before the midterm election, of the editorial opinions which were rated as either Liberal or Conservative, we counted a ratio of nine to one, or 90% Liberal. This is commonly known, but Public Editor MA believes that such a lack of balance not only fails to adequately represent both sides of political arguments, but also can influence news coverage. Is the Boston Globe’s poor news bias rating because of its skewed Liberal editorial stance?” Nitschelm asks.
The site just updated the editorial balance calculation for November, which rated the Boston Globe opinions as 85% Liberal. “A very slight improvement,” Nitschelm remarked. “The Letters were 79% Liberal, which deprives readers of alternate viewpoints or any reader balance to the published opinions.”
The new website has also written several “investigative journalism” articles which delve a bit deeper into particular issues. These articles involve either additional research or getting responses or reactions from Boston Globe editors or journalists.
“Our goal is not just to criticize the Boston Globe, but to point the way for improvement. Professional journalism requires unbiased news coverage and a firewall between news and opinion pieces. Perhaps part of the reason for the Globe’s dwindling subscription base is that a large segment of readers no longer want to subscribe because of the biased coverage,” Nitschelm said. “It would be great if the Boston Globe improved its professional news coverage and subscriptions returned to their prior levels,” he said.
Readers who visit www.PublicEditorMA.com and sign up will get a daily update of new articles posted and can participate in rating news articles for bias, as well as post comments related to commentaries. Subscriptions to Public Editor MA are currently free as the site builds its readership.
“Mainstream media journalists constantly talk about the importance of the press in our democracy and the hyper-partisanship of the country. Part of the reason for our divide might be that the media has taken sides in our political debate and that has helped polarize voters. Public Editor MA believes news articles should be free of bias and therefore trusted by both sides of our political divide. Having a non-partisan media is important to democracy, but we are far from that ideal today,” Nitschelm said.