In the first ever disinformation anthology, You Are Being Lied To, Russ Kick examined the suspicious number of changes the Associated Press makes to its articles after first publication. Now NewsDiffs, a project made at the Knight Mozilla MIT hackathon, tracks changes in the New York Times using Github. Adrianne Jeffries reports for BetaBeat:
Back in October, the New York Times made substantial changes to a report about Occupy Wall Street protesters marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. Version one opened with: “After allowing them onto the bridge, the police cut off and arrested dozens of demonstrators.” Version two, edited just 20 minutes later, opened: “In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.”
The major changes drew criticism, as the question of whether the police had allowed the marchers onto the bridge was central to hundreds of disorderly conduct charges. The kerfuffle inspired Eric Price, Jennifer 8. Lee and Greg Price to build a site at a news hackathon at MIT this weekend that tracks changes made to Times stories using Github. “Diffing is a popular concept within computer programming, which outputs the differences between two files. It is typically used to show the changes between one version of a file and a former version of the same file,” the site says.
So far the app has turned up mostly minor but interesting differences…
[continues at BetaBeat]