Posted by: marshamwhite | April 10, 2010

NewsTrust or not?

Almost all journalists think that the work they publish is stellar and remarkable.  Like other professions, journalists have to live up and exceed the expectations of their job in order to gain recognition for well-written stories. Most journalists have never experienced public criticism of their work unless it deals with published errors and misspelling of names and places. NewsTrust, however, could serve as every journalist’s nightmare or dream, depending on the way you look at it. NewsTrust allows journalists and non-journalists to review and rate stories of published works. On one hand, journalists may receive praise and on the other hand, they may be criticized for their work.  For my “Reinventing the News” class, we had to submit and rate three stories and reflect on our overall NewsTrust experience.

I think it was a lot of fun searching for stories for submission and I tried to submit interesting international stories. One story titled, “Fat in Thailand: Thai-a-betes epidemic,” reveals the growing increase of diabetes in developing countries including Thailand where statistics show that 1 in 10 people in Thailand have diabetes. The author, Patrick Winn, reveals that the diabetes epidemic is a cause of the culture’s love and overuse of sugar. When it came to reviewing the article, I was asked to rate the story’s relevance, sourcing, and whether it was well-written on a zero to five scale. In the “Notes” section, I had to explain why I thought the story followed the credentials of quality journalism.

Posting the stories was probably the worst part of the experience. Newstrust requires a URL of the story and after it asks you to edit information about the story. For one, the story was not fully copied and I had to continue copying and pasting it. This may be tedious especially if a story is two or more pages long.

On many news sites such as The Huntington News, an independent newspaper at Northeastern University, students post anonymous posts about the article and many of the postings are ignorant and extremely racially motivated. Anonymous posting had become a way for people to hide their identity and post freely (and criticize) a story. NewsTrust actually encourages people to provide their real names for their site. But there have been mystery reviewers that review other stories anonymously. I think that NewsTrust should have a way that confirms a person’s email and name in order to be part of the site.

The experience of NewsTrust was very rewarding. Although there were minor flaws, I think overall, being able to review other people’s stories helps in the long run. I think journalism would be even more exceptional in the future if people took the constructive criticism to perfect their craft.

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