NewsTrust: A New Way to Read the News

Our class began exploring a news aggregation site called NewsTrust last week. The site essentially crowdsources media criticism. Users can grade articles based on a number of criteria, eventually giving the better articles better ratings, causing them to rise to “the top.”

The idea of a site that takes aggregation seriously (unlike Digg or Reddit, which provide more entertainment than informative information) is a good one. The majority of news readers lack background knowledge about articles, causing mistakes to go unnoticed and allowing misinformation to be spread (not intentionally, but because of a reporting mistake). A system that allows everyone to provide input and encourages fact-checking is a great tool in weeding out the bad news and providing a platform in which good news can be recognized for its merits and not its origins.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a critical mass of traffic on the site to allow it to serve this purpose with great effect. Not enough stories are posted and rated on a daily basis to provide a snapshot of all of the big stories of a given day in their best form. By this I mean that not every big event of the day has enough stories about it rated on the site for the best one to float to the top.

Though NewsTrust isn’t generating the traffic I feel it needs to effectively serve its intended purpose, I plan to keep reviewing and posting stories to the site. I really like the interface and the concept put forth here, and I hope to see the community grow and the traffic grow until NewsTrust can properly filter the day’s stories.

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2 responses to “NewsTrust: A New Way to Read the News

  1. Pingback: Social-networking the news with NewsTrust | Reinventing the News • Spring 2011

  2. Thanks for this great review, Taylor. I completely agree with you about the “critical mass” issue at NewsTrust. We don’t have the reach we’d need to really be a full-spectrum news site; our Smart Feeds do pull in just about everything, but that doesn’t mean we have the army of reviewers necessary to make sure that all the day’s good (and bad) stories rise to the top (or sink to the bottom). That we don’t have enough traffic is pretty much a function of our nonprofit status and our inability to do the kind of marketing that makes a website into a consumer destination.

    Instead, what we have is a small, tight-knit group of voracious readers curating their own daily reading, and our tools give users the ability to determine whose stories they do and do not trust. It’s still interesting, which is why I love my work, but it’s a very different kind of news reading than you get from the popularity algorithms on Google News. Both are a healthy part of one’s mix of reading, I’d say.

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