Fact Check OUR Ass.

Just a quick thought from this weekend’s “On the Media” show, which included an appearance by Jay Rosen. In discussing his NewAssignment.net project and how online journalists will build their own standards of credibility, Rosen suggested a new approach to fact-checking. The quote from Rosen below begins about half-way through the segment:

“We’re not going to try and go about building trust online in the same way that a mainstream news organization goes about it. We’ll have other ways. For example, NewAssignment.net will probably practice a form of factchecking that exceeds what you would find at a daily newspaper. And we’ll organize networks of people to do that.

What we need to figure out is how is this newfound ability for people to share information horizontally going to affect the vertical synthesizing of information that professional journalism has been totally dedicated to.”

That’s a wonderful way of conceiving a new relationship with the audience that this new, liberating technology provides.

This idea of asking, and even organizing the blogging element of your readership to help you get the story right, fits in perfectly with the 5th tenet of Kovach & Rosenstiel’s “Journalism of Verification”: “not only should they [journalists] be skeptical of what they see and hear from others, but just as important, they should be skeptical about their ability to know what it really means.”

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One Response to “Fact Check OUR Ass.”

  1. Tim Catts Says:

    A thought on this: Journalists really ought to do a better job of finding out what people want to know and can’t find out for themselves. Newassignment.net is obviously a brilliant idea built largely around this concept. But isn’t it something all media organizations should explore? It’s part of the reason I think trolling the Brooklynian message board for unanswered/seemingly unanswerable questions could be fruitful.

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