The Minnesota News Council, which has provided public/professional adjudication of journalism disputes since 1970, is closing, the Associated Press reports.
Not every news org agreed to be hauled before the Council, but the half-journo/half-layperson jury was a good (if not flawless) safety valve in many circumstances. According to AP, “Council President Tony Carideo says drops in the filings of complaints by the public and in corporate funding are the main reasons.”
The latter doesn’t surprise me; I can’t help wondering how social media and our near-instantaneous ability to chew over stories and attendant outrages lessened the complaints. These days, the juries have gotten quite a bit bigger, though the procedures quite a bit more ad hoc.
I leave you with this anecdote from the News Council’s site:
The Minnesota News Council was incorporated in December 1970 and heard its first case in January 1971. It upheld the complaint of a legislator who said the Union Advocate newspaper had unfairly described him as being on the take from the liquor lobby. At the hearing, the editor admitted that he had not checked the veracity of the story because it was too good a story to lose. Few of the cases since have proved so easy.