This is for the journalists – I just read about SpinSpotter, a startup that demo’ed at Demo ’08. SpinSpotter “looks for areas of news which appear to present editorial opinion as fact”. It judges content on six parameters – personal voice, passive voice, a biased source, disregarded context, selective disclosure and lack of balance.
The software itself isn’t up to speed yet – it apparently detected no spin on Valleywag (Ha!), but will learn from the content its users mark as spin.
My take – News needs to learn from History, literally, and offer multiple perspectives, multiple opinions. Thankfully, the Internet allows readers that luxury of reading multiple perpectives – a story without personal voice, and with everything balanced out is like a dry well. We need more opinionated writers, more contrarian viewpoints.
Update: Raju Narisetti, Editor of Mint, weighs in on SpinSpotter here. I agree, it’ll be fun to have a feature which allows readers to judge if press releases are being copy-pasted as news stories.