NewsTrust – Reporting on Bad Journalism is a non-profit organization where members rate the quality, not popularity, of news stories. NewsTrust started through donations; however, now depends on online sponsorships, memberships, licensing and custom services.

The site is organized into topics.  When you click on a “story,” you are linked to the original source of the story, such as the New York Times, or Los Angeles Times.  From there, members can rate the story.

Recently, NewsTrust contracted with a professor and her journalism students at Santa Clara University to hunt for bad journalism.  Stories were posted on a blog with an explanation as to why they were chosen.

Of the three news reports we featured, reviewers noted sourcing and fairness as major problems. They were most aggressive with “Tricky o’s ‘doctored’ photo” from the New York Post, which decried a group of physicians President Obama invited to the White House to show their support for health care reform. The story quoted two Republican opponents of reform, but didn’t seek comments from the doctors themselves — nor the reported “thousands” in the medical community who oppose reform. “The author makes many claims that are not backed up with evidence,” Danielle S. Scharf wrote. “This article is very opinionated and one-sided.”

An article on the Obama Administration’s criticism of Fox Newswritten by Fox News — quoted the network’s staff and commentators, including Karl Rove, but did not seek response from White House officials or third-party sources. And an article in the Telegraph on Obama’s summer visit to Martha’s Vineyard contained no interviews, only quotes from the comments section of a local newspaper.

I think this site is a great way for citizens to respond to the news.  It’s quick and easy to review stories for their quality, and simple for others to see how stories are ranked.  Previously, people would have to blog about news stories, or even write e-mails and letters to the source of news.  I would hope news sources would strive for good journalism even more now that they can be publicly criticized.



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