LA Times Launches Readers Representative Journal

By RJI on November 29, 2007 0 Comments

by Los Angeles Times Staff, www.latimes.com

In November 2007, the Los Angeles Times launched a "Readers' Representative Journal" on its website.

Here's how the Times describes this endeavor:

Since 1999, we've forwarded thousands of reader questions and criticisms to reporters, photographers and editors, and sent responses from the newsroom back to readers. The Times' efforts to connect readers and reporters have included the addition, just over a year ago, of e-mail addresses at the end of articles. Until now the back-and-forth has been mostly one-on-one and internal. From now on many of those conversations will appear on this page. We hope you'll come to think of it as a gathering of stimulating people exchanging interesting ideas.  Here's how to find your way around:

In the center rail will be ...

  • Q&A -- Readers' questions and staffers' answers on how The Times covers stories, including general inquiries about practices as well as specific comments on particular news articles
  • "Ask a Staffer" -- a chance to get the story behind the story from reporters, photographers and editors
  • "Whatever happened to" -- where readers can ask for updates on past stories
  • Grammar critiques

And on the right rail will be....

  • The L.A. Times' ethics guidelines
  • FAQs/general (outside-the-newsroom operations such as how to buy a back copy of The Times or request a  vacation stop)
  • FAQs/issues and accuracy (often-asked questions about newsroom practices)
  • A directory of newsroom staffers
  • A list of groups that work to protect the 1st Amendment and keep the public informed

Also, the left rail includes a link to corrections, many of which are the result of reader alerts.

The plan is to post several items a day in response to reader inquiries. We'll start off gradually as readers and staffers  -- and this office -- learn how to use this as a tool.

Welcome, and feel free to submit your points or responses to what you read in The Times, or what you read here.  All comments will be read and forwarded to the appropriate Times staffers. Those that touch on topics of wide interest or raise new aspects of the conversation will be posted.

The Times Readers' Representative Journal is a great example of a news organization making an effort to reach out to its readers and be transparent about how it makes decisions and the standards to which it holds itself.  Check out the Readers' Representative Journal here.