Magazine websites trading quality for speed: CJR research

Magazines are compromising on quality in the race to put up their news online first, a research proj

The magazines compromised on copy editing and fact-checking. About 11 per cent of magazines did not edit online-only articles and about 8 per cent did not check facts for online content.

Almost all the magazine sites -- 87 per cent -- corrected minor errors, such as typos and misspellings, without informing readers about the change. And 45 per cent of the sites changed factual errors without letting readers know they were posted wrong initially.

"The conventional wisdom is that you have to be there first in order to get traffic, and you need traffic in order to sell ads, therefore you do not have time to do copy-editing and fact-checking," said Victor Navasky, chairman of CJR's bi-monthly publication.

Navasky and his team contacted 3,000 magazines in the summer and fall of 2009 and 665 of them completed the survey.

The research found that only one-third of the websites earned a profit and that profitability was not linked to paywall. About 49 per cent of unprofitable websites and 65 per cent of profitable websites posted free content.