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News Sniffer: turning media monitoring into corporate watchdog

A new service called News Sniffer is attracting interest from various bloggers at the moment.

The idea is that it monitors big news organisations like the BBC and notes how often they change stories or take down comments and lets you know which stories have altered or censored, depending on your view.

There are two main parts to the site:

1. Watch your mouth, which "monitors the BBC's 'Have Your Say' website and detects when comments get censored."

2. Revisionista, which "monitors news websites and detects when articles change. The versions are viewable and the changes are highlighted." At the moment it is only monitoring the Guardian, Independent and BBC, which a cynic might say suggests a bias of its own. It does say it is open to suggestions, so I'll be volunteering Sky News, the Telegraph and Daily Mail for starters. :-)

BBC Director of Global News, Richard Sambrook raises an eyebrow on his blog but concludes that it is a good thing, but cautions:

There is a frequent confusion between censorship (the suppression of information) and editing (the prioritisation or choice of what to present). They could overlap - but usually don't.

The service was set up by a "computer geek" called John Leach. Good work!


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