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Ask NewsTrust Founder Fabrice Florin About NewsTrust — Or Anything Else

Roblimo posted more than 5 years ago | from the searching-for-needles-of-truth-in-piles-of-dreck dept.

72

NewsTrust is, to quote from the site's header, "Your guide to good journalism." Specifically, NewsTrust links to stories published both by well-known media and by less-known blogs, and asks its users to rank and review those stories on accuracy, balance, context, evidence, fairness, importance, information, sources, style, and trust. It's an ambitious effort with an impressive group of advisors, that is starting to be taken very seriously by a growing number of people who follow media matters closely. Founder Fabrice Florin is reasonably impressive himself. He's been a leader in online multimedia content for many years, and if you remember the excellent mid-1980s documentary film Hackers, he's the guy who directed and produced it. Fabrice is kind of a "behind the camera guy," so there aren't a lot of interviews with him out there. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply.

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72 comments

News to me? (3, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646605)

Why haven't I heard about your site until reading this on Slashdot five seconds ago?

Imagine that. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647087)

Slashdot has news you did not know about. Isn't that what Slashdot is for?

The site itself sounds like a good idea, but it will be tough to guard against the gaming Slashdot itself has suffered.

Re:Imagine that. (2, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647165)

the gaming Slashdot itself has suffered.

I gather you mean this [slashdot.org] , right?

Re:Imagine that. (1)

deadzero (1306187) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647425)

I think he means gaming like this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org] but your little smear campaign is also repulsive.

Re:Imagine that. (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648911)

Right, and you're totally not Twitter posting under a different name.

Either give up or try harder.

Re:Imagine that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24648975)

You two should get a room.

So why should I trust your 'users'? (5, Interesting)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646709)

What's there to assure me that these newssites rankings aren't being astroturfed?

Re:So why should I trust your 'users'? (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 5 years ago | (#24669171)

A sufficiently large, diverse, and dedicated body of active participants can neutralize most astroturfing efforts.

I don't know if NewsTrust has that sort of community. Slashdot could certainly encourage more diversity in its views, especially political perspectives.

Hackers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24646719)

Were you forced to produce/direct Hackers (for some soul exchange, perhaps), or did you really think it was a good script?

Re:Hackers? (2, Informative)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646775)

Follow the link provided, AC. It's not referring to the 1995 Hackers film with Angelina Joulie.

Re:Hackers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24646935)

Follow the link provided, AC. It's not referring to the 1995 Hackers film with Angelina Joulie.

I'd be shocked if he was the director of that movie

anything else? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24646747)

I'd like to find a girlfriend. She can't be fat, ugly, old, crippled, etc, and must like tossing salad, fisting, scat, and watersports. What should I do????

Re:anything else? (2, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646885)

I'd like to find a girlfriend. She can't be fat, ugly, old, crippled, etc, and must like tossing salad, fisting, scat, and watersports. What should I do????

You wake up from that dream and settle for the emotionally broken girl who doesn't believe she can do any better than you.

Forgive me if I seem a bit jaded (3, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646825)

But after a quick look-see on Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, Propeller and a few other "important" social websites, I see that the prevailing majority is still parroting the usual "OMFGWTFBBQ BUSH 9/11 ANTHRAX MSM MIKKRO$AFTZ RON PAUL SHEEPLE TAH POLICE R BAD" line.

On the other hand, Musharraf stepping down hardly got a peep from them as of this morning, probably because most of them can't figure out the importance of that event. Lots of funny lolcat links though.

How exactly are your users any different from these?

Re:Forgive me if I seem a bit jaded (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647015)

Wow, I agree with dedazo. How will you foster a user base that is news centric rather than lolcat centric?

It's casual common sense to understand that the MSM is not going to go in-depth on news stories. Musharraf's resignation is huge, but there is (so far) no in depth analysis of this news. Anything that vaguely smells of conspiracy gets all too much of the wrong attention. How will you avoid falling foul of these types of news ruts?

Re:Forgive me if I seem a bit jaded (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647213)

It's entirely possible that he has a different demographic, or that there's some sort of AI there (a la Google news) to make a difference, though I doubt that.

I must admit I had not heard of this service until now, so I'm still going through it and trying to figure out how it works.

The Economist for one. (1)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647285)

Musharraf's resignation is huge, but there is (so far) no in depth analysis of this news

An analysis will show up in the Economist, New Yorker- eventually, Time, News Week, and Salon.

Everything else is just garbage as you and the OP have noticed.

Re:Forgive me if I seem a bit jaded (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#24649341)

True and the sad thing is that many people will think that what they find there is real, important news just because the site says so. It will be full of idiots convincing other idiots into believing and seeing only the sensationalist bullshit otherwise distributed through the TV, YouTube, etc.

In case the post seems a little condescending I'd like to say that I am probably part of the sheep-like idiots group because I really don't follow much news of any kind. Still, I'm aware of my ignorance in many fields and as such I'm not taking anything I see or hear for granted.

Actually, now that I think of it like that, maybe no matter what the sources and the content of the news are, trying to be objective and unbiased might be enough to make out enough of the reality even from the most impartial stories. Also, you need to refrain from forming an opinion if you don't have enough information about a subject.

absolutely correct (2, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24655737)

I saw NewsTrust when it first came out, and was one of the "founding" user-editors. I spent quite a lot of time seriously reading stories and rating them, particularly focussing on stories in my area of professional expertise (physical sciences). But I gave up in disgust after a few months, as it became clear the community (or at least that segment of it fanatical enough to spend the time necessary to push its agenda) could have been imported whole from digg.com. A crowd of folks apparently amazingly shallow, with a microscopic attention span, a taste for the sensational and paranoid, and whose moral viewpoint is so unimaginative and monolithic that it would make any totalitarian dictator sob with envy oh! if only I could get my subjects to march together in such perfect lockstep groupthink.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that the concept of the "community-driven" news site is an abject failure. Allowing a free-wheeling democracy to pick your top stories is basically just a method for discovering the lowest common denominator in taste, discovering what an electronic edition of the National Enquirer would publish, more or less. It's most definitely not what the inventors thought they'd get, which is the better discovery of unusual, underreported, or controversial stories. You get the very opposite of intellectual diversity, ironically enough.

Judging political ballance. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646891)

How do you really judge what is considered balance.
If you are Left leaning then the balance will be towards the left. If you are right leaning then the balance will be to the right. Fox News "Fare and Balance" is from people who are right leaning, and saw the media and thought it didn't give their side appropriate thought. NPR the same thing but to the left. Being that it is the internet and it tends to attract more clique then a truly diverse set of people who is to say the ranking isn't done by a bunch of people to the left who feel that Fox News and other right outlets has tilted news to the Right so they group up and say the Left articles are fair or vice versa.

Then there is the statical correlation between Liberal and Conservative (And I am talking about the brawedest sense of the words), being the Liberals want to change things while conservatives want to keep things as they are. So in general Liberals make the news more then consertivies as they are trying to change things, vs. trying to keep things they way they are tends to be less news worthy.
Think about it what is a better article.

People Protest to lower the speed limit on the interstate in their state to 55mph.
or
People Protest to keep the speed limit as it currently is.

There is more news in the first as there is the question of why the change is needed what benefit and tradeoffs it will gain. vs. the second which we generally know what is happening.

Re:Judging political ballance. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647221)

And of course, there's the problem that reality has a well known liberal bias. There are times when "balanced" coverage is really not representative of the truth. Think of the coverage of the intelligent design controversy. If you were to give each side the coverage it is due based on the facts, you'd have a pretty one sided article. But the ID proponents are loud, and likely to skew the coverage in their direction, just because they're loud.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648435)

And of course, there's the problem that reality has a well known liberal bias. There are times when "balanced" coverage is really not representative of the truth. Think of the coverage of the intelligent design controversy. If you were to give each side the coverage it is due based on the facts, you'd have a pretty one sided article.

Not really. The entire controversy over whether whatever caused the existence of the universe happened randomly or as the result of as the result of some intelligent entity's actions inevitably deals with events outside of observable spacetime, and thus outside the realm of science. It's a purely philosophical distinction, much like rationalism vs. empiricism, and claiming that "reality" and "facts" favor your own viewpoint only confirms that your biases on the issue are highly internalized.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 5 years ago | (#24649419)

Sure, the argument of what caused creation is outside of observable space time - but that's not what people are upset about. ID argues that creation did occur in what science would define as measurable space time. What I want to know is how they will filter bias from fact. It seems like "facts" are very subjective in the media today.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24657395)

Ignorance is strength. Seriously. Not having to bother with reality, you can overstate and misframe to your hearts content while being convinced you are doing the right thing - because you are ignorant of how the world works but in the know of the conspiracies of those against you.

We've got the same thing in Norway - they call themselves "fremskrittspartiet" (the progress party) and still their agenda is anti-science (it has an agenda!), anti-intellectual (useless people who only produce opinions!) and anti-elitist (they're after our money!).

It's world-wide disease and I'm suspecting the internet is the carrier.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 5 years ago | (#24659623)

:( So I guess there's no escaping them. Although here (US) in the South people have always been that way. (It's what happens when a country is colonized by puritans)

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24650309)

Except that the controversy over evolution vs intelligent design has nothing to do with the creation of the universe. It deals only with the process of speciation [wikipedia.org] .

This is what happens when you give equal time to nutjobs. They try to frame the question in a way that favors their viewpoint, and just end up confusing everyone.

Re:Judging political ballance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24649549)

"And of course, there's the problem that reality has a well known liberal bias."

So you're saying that reality changes itself to conform with liberal beliefs?

Re:Judging political ballance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24649895)

So you're saying that reality changes itself to conform with liberal beliefs?

Or maybe liberals flipflop to be in line with reality?

Re:Judging political ballance. (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647375)

Being that it is the internet and it tends to attract more clique then a truly diverse set of people who is to say the ranking isn't done by a bunch of people to the left who feel that Fox News and other right outlets has tilted news to the Right so they group up and say the Left articles are fair or vice versa.

If the majority of the population segment leans "left" then the balance IS left. If the two primary stances being argued in the mainstream media for the population segment is over what form of socialized health care to introduce, the balance is a blend of those points of view. The balance would not be those points of view vs privatized health care.

Then there is the statical correlation between Liberal and Conservative (And I am talking about the brawedest sense of the words), being the Liberals want to change things while conservatives want to keep things as they are.

That is a quaint understanding of the terms 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' and as much as I wish it were true, it has long since died. The terms Liberal and Conservative have changed dramatically over the years to have had a wide variety of meanings to the point now where people just lump huge groups of odd political categorizations together and label them according to their opposition of their current opinion.

If Liberal and Conservative meant what you feel they mean, why would Liberals be protesting to maintain Roe vs Wade while Conservatives protest to over turn it? Honestly, the two labels are almost worthless.

-Rick

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648479)

If the majority of the population segment leans "left" then the balance IS left. If the two primary stances being argued in the mainstream media for the population segment is over what form of socialized health care to introduce, the balance is a blend of those points of view. The balance would not be those points of view vs privatized health care.

I don't really like that interpretation. Preceding the 2nt gulf war most Americans were pro Iraq war. At the time not much of the media was doing any digging to show they weren't WMDs, or at the numbers that propaganda wanted us to believe (Including during the Clinton Years) At the time the Media was to right and it wasn't balanced as the people who got the information wasn't getting the correct balanced information. Just because they wanted to believe it doesn't make it balanced.

If Liberal and Conservative meant what you feel they mean, why would Liberals be protesting to maintain Roe vs Wade while Conservatives protest to over turn it? Honestly, the two labels are almost worthless.

Because I meant it in a general not a specific point of view... In reality Pro-Life groups are liberal in that view and actually get a fair amount of press. However they are group into conservatives as many Pro-Life movements are linked to religious groups who for the most part are conservative in other areas. Being that fact a conservative political party will bend to keep these people voting for them. I was sure not to say Democrat and Republican as they are a mix of Liberal and Consertive (which are very broad terms) ideas, As well as any group of people.

 

Re:Judging political ballance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24648635)

Then there is the statical correlation between Liberal and Conservative (And I am talking about the brawedest sense of the words), being the Liberals want to change things while conservatives want to keep things as they are.

If Liberal and Conservative meant what you feel they mean, why would Liberals be protesting to maintain Roe vs Wade while Conservatives protest to over turn it? Honestly, the two labels are almost worthless.

"Why would Liberals be protesting to keep abortion legal while Conservatives protest to make it illegal?"

Abortion = illegal is the way things were.
Roe vs Wade = the change that "liberals" were seeking.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648801)

Abortion = illegal is the way things were.
Roe vs Wade = the change that "liberals" were seeking.

A valid point, how ever, RvW occurred in 1973. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of protesters where not even politically aware (say, under the age of 18) when that trial took place. So for all intents and purposes, to the current mainstream view, legal abortion is the norm, and making it illegal is a change from that norm.

And thus the reason why the terms Liberal and Conservative have become so worthless over the years. Who once was a Liberal is now a Conservative, and for fear of the label, they never changed their marketing. So we have Liberals with Conservative points of view and Conservatives with Liberal points of view. And that doesn't even get into the "Conservative values" or "Eco-conservative" groups, both of whom are exceptionally liberal in their practices, but often get lumped up into the conservative and liberal political groups.

-Rick

Re:Judging political ballance. (3, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647377)

Sorry I do not currently have mod points. Well said. in 1982 I stopped watching ALL network news and never got the habit again. Yes media gives you moving pictures of what is (may be?) happening and a reporter with just the right amount of wave to their hair. I prefer black and white print. I have found that a blend of the reportage of US News as reported in Singapore, Hong Kong, New Delhi, and Wellington is FAR more reliable then anything the Alphabet Nets produce. I do miss a lot of drug commercials that way but I think I cankive (longer?) without that.

Re:Judging political ballance. (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647491)

I do miss a lot of drug commercials that way but I think I cankive (longer?) without that.

Interestingly enough, a friend with a life-long condition was recently introduced to a new drug treatment option through one of those direct to consumer adds (on that thar moving picture box). She looked it up on the internet after seeing the add, took that information in to her doc at her next appointment. He did some research on it and wound up giving her a perscription for it. Turns out that drug has had a huge effect on her life and she has gone from popping pain pills multiple times every day to taking a single pill and having none of the major issues related to her condition.

I'm still torn on the idea of DTC advertisements for drugs, but after working in the medical industry for a while now, I have come to the conclusion that a large number of idiots have found there way through medical school and are in charge of peoples health. That is a rather scary thought, and if some consumer education/awareness can help the issue, so be it.

-Rick

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647677)

I agree about education and the fact that some drugs MAY help, but seeing it on that picture box is a knee-jerk turn off to me . Idiots in Medicine: My ex works for a medical association (Docotor's Guild) reviewing bills. They are a RN with a MBA and has for years told me tales that would have people in deep trouble if they did not have "MD" after their name.
Used to be, Hospital was where you went to die. Now it is where you go to die and loose a life time's savings and work so Admins, Doctors, government agencies and other such can live the good life and your decendents are never burdened with concerns about your bank account, property, house, Grandma's ring or anything else that possibly has value.
Medicine is money, Money is Medicine that is the equation today...

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648555)

News print isn't free from the same problems of balance that the rest of the media has. They have the ability to give more depth however they often fail with breath. Besides they still want to leave enough room for adds. And want to make sure the news attracts people to read it.

Re:Judging political ballance. (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 5 years ago | (#24669213)

I do miss a lot of drug commercials that way but I think I cankive [sic] (longer?) without that.

Yeah, but I bet the commentary isn't as easy on the typing fingers as flipping channels.

Re:Judging political ballance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24695125)

> How do you really judge what is considered balance.

You don't. You get the hell out of the way and let the free market decide! The result is an evolutionary process of ideologies, where only the strongest survive. Where's a Darwinist when you need one? Maybe they should grow a spine! (sorry, couldn't resist)

Instead of trying to resuscitate the more pathetic ideologies in the interest of "fairness", which is really just a euphonism for perfection, I think it's better to let them die a well deserved death. This will hopefully force them back to the drawing board. Anything less would be counterproductive.

Question regarding slashvertisement (0, Flamebait)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646899)

How did you get such great stealth advertising on Slashdot for your Digg-clone site?

Regardless of the answer - hats off to you - I'm sure it will be quite a boon!

Parent has an interesting question. (2, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647393)

How did you get such great stealth advertising on Slashdot for your Digg-clone site? Regardless of the answer - hats off to you - I'm sure it will be quite a boon!

And...who owns you? So you have any link what so ever with Slashdot?

Unfortunately, with the web, journalistic and editorial integrity has become questionable. Unlike print or broadcast which takes millions of dollars, putting up an internet "journalist" site takes nothing. Anyone can call themselves a journalist and post whatever they want.

Be careful! (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647453)

So you have any link what so ever with Slashdot?

Don't ask these types of questions or someone with copious (maybe even infinite!) mod points will mod you as Flamebait!

I'm sure that Rob just felt that we needed to know about a new, obscure news aggregation site with Digg-like submission and voting buttons. Rob only had our best interest at heart. And of course, in addition to knowing about this site, he realized without us knowing that we'd be fascinated to ask the person who launched this site all kinds of questions because he had some tie-in to a movie with a technical cult-following.

Javascript (4, Interesting)

imunfair (877689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646941)

It would be nice if there was actually content displayed without turning on javascript. Maybe it wouldn't allow you to rate articles without JS on, or something of that sort. It's an instant turn off to go to a site and see no content without javascript. Unless that site has content that can't be obtained elsewhere there is little reason to even bother turning it on to inspect the site and see if it is worthwhile.

Re:Javascript (4, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647843)

It would be nice if there was actually content displayed without turning on javascript.

It's especially retarded because if you view the source, the content is all already there. The reason it doesn't show up is because of the little tab thingies. Rather than have a single tab already visible, it has all the tabs initially unselected and then selects one of the tabs when the page loads, thereby making a single tab visible.

There are several ways to solve this. Method A is to have a tab selected in the HTML and just accept that the tabs will be broken if JavaScript is broken (the easy way). Method B would be to have JavaScript create the tabs, and default to having all content displayed in a list. This is arguably "the right way" unless NewsTrust really has to have those tabs. Then they could use Method C, which is to allow the generating page to display different tab content based on query strings and linking the tabs appropriately as a fallback when JavaScript is not available.

But displaying nothing by default is kind of silly. The content is already in the page, it just needs to be made visible.

And I disagree that the parent is offtopic. It's a legitimate complaint, and the article is about the website. There are a ton of ways to browse the web these days, and not all of them fully support JavaScript if they support it at all. For example, if I pull the page up on my cellphone, which supports enough CSS to hide the stories but not enough JavaScript to support the tab JavaScript, I get an effectively contentless page.

Since this is an interview, I'll make this a simple question: why don't you add "sel" CSS class to the first tab? That should fix the problem without breaking the JavaScript tab system. (It's Method A above.) Note that, as with all Slashdot advice, I haven't actually tested that.

Re:Javascript (1)

zobier (585066) | more than 5 years ago | (#24653037)

why don't you add "sel" CSS class to the first tab? That should fix the problem without breaking the JavaScript tab system. (It's Method A above.) Note that, as with all Slashdot advice, I haven't actually tested that.

I tested it w/ Firebug (I <3 being able to edit the forms/pages I'm viewing) and verify that it works as advertised.

I was originally going to chime in with the same bug as the P&GP, however I realised that I could
    View > Page Style > No Style

And get to all the content that way.

I do agree that sites should be designed with graceful degradation in mind.
It's the '00s people; either don't expect your site to work for other ppl the way it works on your set-up or get one of these [codinghorror.com] !

Re:Javascript (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 5 years ago | (#24669487)

Commenting on the 3 UI improvement suggestions:

Method A: A good start, but with only a fraction of the content visible, someone's bound to complain, or worse, claim that the site is censoring content. Not so good.
Method B: This is probably the most reasonable, given the stated goals of the site. The only ones that might possibly complain are the visual designers who actually created the UI, the armchair visual designers in the audience, and the less intelligent of the whiners who now complain that their content isn't higher up or more to the left, instead of being hidden.
Method C: Arguably the best solution of the three if the tabs are essential as PP mentioned. However, this requires someone who can actually design and code solid database handlers. But whereas the earlier solutions could be coded with HTML, CSS, and some Javascript, this one requires a server-side language like PHP or ASP, if it wants to avoid heavy use of Javascript.

Exercise in Futility (2, Insightful)

Greg_D (138979) | more than 5 years ago | (#24646955)

The secret societies of politically biased internet kooks will tear that site apart.

Unless the entire point of the site was to get all these idiots to continue to drive up the number of page views (and ad revenue) as they try to spam the ratings mechanism, then it's going to be fairly worthless in the long run.

The important one (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647027)

Folder or scruncher?

Hackers? (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647139)

if you remember the excellent mid-1980s documentary film Hackers

Is that a prequel to the excellent mid-1990s documentary film Hackers?

Rewards? (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647181)

How do you reward your users? What mechanisms will/do you employ to promote meaningful and thoughtful tagging and discourse?

How is this better or different than the 'diggs' or 'mod points' people on other News sites acquire?

Naturally, I am concerned with positive reinforcement being given to those that deserve it and the ability to overlook the inevitable negative material the internet is so adept at producing en mass.

SOCIALIST REVOLUTION (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24647191)

that's what we need, fuck this liberal bullshittery.

Fair, far from it. Looks like political activist (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647275)

have you by the short ones.

Sorry, I went through a dozen or so stories, checked out the comments and the scores, nope, there is nothing fancy about yet another rating system taken over by groups with an agenda.

So, what does he do about near obvious or cloned reviews, reviews without substantial comment? A site like this is only good if it has a large number of participants as anything will be skewed if its determined to be important.

Even sites as popular as Digg fell sway to organized attempts to skew story ratings. What does this site do to avoid it?

BTW - its probably already to slanted to be meaningful. My advice, get US politics OFF your site. Its a similar problem /. faces but we can ignore it because the admins here can be pretty brazen with their leanings its easy to laugh them off. They don't make any pretense about being fair, balanced, etc, which you are trying to do so your going to have to work a lot harder

Florin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24647313)

Ask NewsTrust Founder Fabrice Florian

I thought that he goes by "Bernie" now?

Protect the Kernel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24647827)

... This Just in, the Gibson has been hacked.

fail. (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24647849)

Obviously the way to rank the accuracy, objectivity, and fairness of a news report is to subject it to an anonymous internet popularity contest.

Wait--I think perhaps I mean the exact opposite of what I just said.

Objective Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24648047)

When we look at water, it trickles down the path of least resistance. On the internet, it would seem that we are like water, constantly viewing those things which we already believe to be correct. This affects decisions on politics, arts, and sciences. For a new generation, what new set of proofs can we see to separate evidence from opinion, and how is it that we can secure these proofs against abuse?

--dan.waggoner@yahoo.com

Accuracy over Fairness or Balance (2, Interesting)

internic (453511) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648239)

It's clear that some news sources are just plain bad at getting the facts correct. It's also true that many of us feel there are news sources out there that are very biased in their presentation of matters, in some cases (e.g. with state media) becoming little more than propaganda. But in talking about issues of fairness and balance isn't there a danger of getting bogged down in these more subjective matters, to the detriment of a focus on more objective things like factual accuracy?

It seems to me that any community rating system on "balance" or "fairness" runs a big risk of falling prey to groupthink. For one thing, if a majority of users favor one sort of bias, users with a minority viewpoint may feel marginalized and eventually stop contributing. I haven't seen any systematic research on the topic, but I think many of us feel we see this happen on various user-driven sites. It isn't even clear to me how one can have an objective standard for fairness or balance.

To put a fine point on it, I am part of the group that loathes Fox News (among others) for their exceeding bad news coverage. People seem to focus on the issue of bias, and this argument usually quickly devolves into a a stalemate between ideological camps, with people arguing about, for example, whether Fox News is worse than CNN. I wish people would just focus much more on all the facts they get wrong or make up: Obama's so-called "terrorist fist bump" and labeling Mark Foley as a democrat come to mind as two examples. I think most reasonable people can agree that these are simply false and constitute bad journalism, and we can agree to work against any source prone to such errors on that basis.

The same problem as any "user-driven" ratings site (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648451)

First, it's almost impossible to prevent people from gaming the system. For instance, on Amazon.com, reviews are frequently written by people who haven't actually read the book, they just don't like the author. I foresee a lot of "I hate liberal blogger x" and "conservative outlet z sucks" bias creeping in.

Second, the Wikipedia problem: why is the input of millions of idiots more insightful than the intelligent analysis of someone who knows what they're talking about? Answer: it isn't. As an example, democracy is fine and all, but frankly allowing 100 million mouth-breathers to elect a government hasn't been working out so well recently.

Who funds NewsTrust? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648453)

Is NewsTrust funded by George Soros? Who funds NewsTrust?

Since few others have actually ASKED a question... (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648597)

1) Will Joey ever get a 1337 handle?

2) Would journalism improve if the organizations were non-profit?

Partnerships with left-leaning organizations (2, Interesting)

guanxi (216397) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648663)

I happen to lean left myself and I've read Newstrust daily almost since it came out; it's an excellent resource. But I think it's clear that the selection of articles leans left:

* For example, see this list [newstrust.net] of the most highly rated posts. You see the NY Times, Wash. Post, NPR, Huffington Post, The Nation, Alternet, FAIR, which range from moderate to liberal. What is missing is right-leaning publications, like the Weekly Standard, National Review Online, OpinionJournal, etc.

* Also, a few months ago, NewsTrust formed a partnership [newstrust.net] with a partisan liberal publication, The Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] to find new about John McCain. Not surprisingly, the articles that were posted leaned very heavily left.

What can NewsTrust do to address these issues?

Rant: english usage (2, Funny)

petershank (463008) | more than 5 years ago | (#24648903)

"if you remember the excellent mid-1980s documentary film Hackers, he's the guy who directed and produced it."

If I don't remember that movie, is he still the guy who directed and produced it?

Censored war images and press freedom? (1)

jefft0 (548727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24649081)

What are you doing to stop the censorship of images from the war? The public cannot make an informed decision about the war if the media sheilds them from seeing bloodied soldiers and civilians. When a journalist takes an accurate photo of the destruction, what is the process where the newspapers and television suppress it?

Re:Censored war images and press freedom? (1)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24650725)

I never understood why people needed to make a decision about this war. If someone kills your people, then kills more of them, then even more, and 40 years later is still killing them, then you've already been at war for over 4 decades. You just haven't been fighting your end of it. Your choices are either force the people killing you to stop, or let them keep killing you with no repercussions. Perhaps publishing bloody images of all the victims of terrorism would help you understand this, or do you only want images that help your side of the argument published?

Echo Chamber? (2, Insightful)

PoliTech (998983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24649925)

Will this site be encouraging homophily, or will there be a negative feedback mechanism such as LibraryThing's UnSuggest to encourage more dynamic balance?

Are the News stories and blog posts themselves subject to this "balance" or is it the "perceived credibility" of the source news outlet that determines ratings and discussion?

For example if a given story is from LGF, ones preconception may be that the news presented will be heavily slanted to the right regardless of the facts, and if the source were Daily KOZ one may expect the opposite.

Do you think that "balance" is currently reflected in the site's "front page" results?

Is any evident "political" bias currently on display subject to any editorial change or negative feedback mechanism in the future?

Is this to be simply another clone of politically leaning news/blog conglomerations like Pajamas Media or Village Voice?

Do you think that all social networks are eventually destined to become echo chambers in one form or another as evidenced by Digg's deterioration, and as currently on display at NewsTrust?

you aint need photoshop (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24650291)

to change your memory a baseball bat with v > 10m/sec toward your head is enough. Maybe have some band aid ready too!

Re:you aint need photoshop (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#24650315)

Sorry - got the message wrong!!

Since few others have actually ASKED a question... (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#24656073)

Why haven't I heard about your site until reading this on Slashdot five seconds ago?

Guide to good journalism as judged by,..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24709823)

How does NewsTrust plan to deal with the bias of your review group?

According to demographics from your survey response, 41% of your respondents declared themselves to be very liberal, while just 3 out of the 1,011 declared themselves to be very conservative. The numbers remain sharply skewed when you look at Liberal & Very Liberal (82%) versus Conservative & Very Conservative (2%).

http://www.newstrust.net/survey/report.htm

Why is JavaScript necessary? (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718283)

I can't see the news without JavaScript. Why is JavaScript necessary? Can't it not be done without it?

Hackers, Web 2.0 and proprietary HTML (1)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | more than 4 years ago | (#24738583)

I loved the movie Hackers when I saw it first... years ago. Its a pleasure asking you questions.

1. Why does everyone insist that web developers have to make their websites Web 2.0 compatible? Personally, I would prefer to have no Javascript in my websites. Does Ajax *have* to be enabled in every up-to-date website?

2. About proprietary HTML tags, Apple has released new HTML and CSS directives so that iPhone users can have a "better browsing experience". Why isn't anyone complaining about this? When Microsoft released their IE-only HTML code, all were up in arms. Now Apple does the same thing and its fad!?!

3. News sites: Why do BBC, CNN and Yahoo news rephrase the headlines so many times. During the French riots in 2006, the title initially included "Arab and North African immigrants". Then they changed it several times in the day, and it finally said something about "Unemployed youth". Why are news sites and the AP afraid of reporting the *real* news without fear from the mid-east and other PC shareholders?

4. Why is it necessary for sites like BBC and CNN to have a video version replace the text version? I think we can do with just text and maybe pictures. Flash should be *optional* and not required.

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