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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/22/10

Trust, Factchecking, and the News Media Landscape To Come

Message Craig Newmark

from The Huffington Post

Okay, you hear me talking "trust is the new black" and that power and influence will shift dramatically to the people and groups with the best reputations and largest networks. The power and influence landscape in 2020 will look very different from now.

I feel this applies to media, and that the media landscape at that point will reflect those flows of power and influence. Among news organizations,the successful survivors will be the ones that build a culture of trust, largely by checking facts, and not tolerating disinformation.

The good news is that we already see the first signs.

You might already know that Jon Stewart is probably the most trusted newsman in the US. His team does a lot of investigative work and a lot of fact checking, trying to keep reporting honest. (Check out this and this one.)

Recently Jay Rosen suggested a dramatic step forward toward restoring trust in news. He suggested that guests, particularly political types, get fact-checked, in My Simple Fix for the Messed Up Sunday Shows. Check out good reaction in 'This Week' Is Adding Online Fact Checks.

Jake Tapper from ABC "This Week" gets a lot of credit for getting this started. Politifact is doing the fact checking, though I suspect they take statements too literally. (As a nerd, that's my problem and my turf.) Let's not forget that FactCheck.org does great work along these lines.

Anyway, pretty good start, would like to see more of that.

What seems odd to me is that one newsman feels no need to fact check, and I know the guy is smart and well-connected, and knows when he's being lied to. If so, is he complicit?

I've wondered about this also, particularly when I see something like a TV news guest that sure seems to be, say, bearing false witness. I've spoken with a lot of reporters, they tell me they know when a guest isn't quite honest, but aren't allowed to challenge that kind of thing.

Arianna Huffington made a similar suggestion, a tougher version. When it comes to live events, let's do real-time fact checking.

Turns out, Sunlight Foundation, which is a really big deal regarding government accountability, did real-time fact checking for the health care summit, very successfully.

How do we create the expectation for fact checking?

Thinking ...

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Craig Alexander Newmark (born in 1952) is an Internet entrepreneur best known for founding San Francisco-based website craigslist and shaking up the classified advertising business. Upon graduation he attended college at Case Western Reserve (more...)
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