Category Archives: publishing standards

Deconstructing a screwup: Business Insider’s gee-whiz coverage of North Korea’s new airport

A couple of you have asked for a fuller description of what I’m looking for in your weekly blog posts. Maybe the best way to do that is to provide an example of the sort of post I have in mind.

Screenshot 2015-07-07 13.32.54 The idea for this one came courtesy of Poynter’s Morning MediaWire, which can be a great tip sheet for your weekly posts (you can subscribe here). Poynter’s Ben Mullin reported:

Business Insider extols North Korean airport

Business Insider has toned down the language in a glowing story written by reporter Benjamin Zhang that offered effusive praise for a newly opened airport in the heavily propagandized country of North Korea. The article, previously headlined “North Korea’s stunning new airport puts many Americans to shame” is now titled “North Korea says it has a great new airport” (Gawker)

This raised as many questions as it answered, including:

  • How did the original version of this story get published in the first place?
  • What publishing guidelines does Business Insider follow?
  • What prompted the new version?

I’ve sent questions by email to the author of the BI story, Benjamin Zhang, and to Mediaite’s Evan McMurry, who reported that BI had updated its piece with an editor’s note: “We revised this post to reflect North Korea’s reliance on propaganda.”  Continue reading Deconstructing a screwup: Business Insider’s gee-whiz coverage of North Korea’s new airport