Public Editor

Viral $44.5 million Kansas school funding cut story is old news

One of the hottest trending stories on today is kind of the definition of old news. As in over a year old.

I’ve been getting reader questions about a link that’s been getting a lot of traffic, especially on Facebook in the past couple of days. It concerns Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to take $28 million, or 1.5 percent, out of elementary and secondary education in the state.

It’s a real story — but as the publication date at the top shows, it is from Feb. 5, 2015. Stories don’t expire from any longer, so Google can find all sorts of outdated “news.”

This is a bit like “oldbituaries” — a term a friend recently coined to describe social media users’ unknowingly sharing as new obituaries for people who actually died some time ago. This phenomenon usually happens with celebrities such as Annette Funicello, who had been out of the spotlight for a long time before her death.

A related question: Do Star Web editors ever change the posting date on stories? It’s theoretically possible, as that option exists in the content management system. I can imagine there might be a reason to use it if an older story gets a major update.

But it definitely isn’t a regular practice. It’s generally considered best to publish an all-new story if there’s something significant enough to merit a big new mention.