This week (through Sunday, February 28) NewsTrust, a public journalism rating site, is hosting a hunt for bad journalism. Working with students from a class at Stanford University, the NewsTrust blog will feature a new set of bad stories every day, seeking viewer participation to rate the site’s choices as well as suggest others.
The blog announced the hunt Monday, saying the exercise is intended to “highlight journalism with serious flaws: news reports and opinions that are inaccurate, biased, irresponsible or superficial.”
Each day of the week the NewsTrust student collaboration will add more examples of bad journalism from a new category of sources. Monday featured news reports, offering readers the chance to rate the following three stories:
• Obama tops Bush at ducking reporters – Washington Times
• Conservatives mock Al Gore on snowstorms – Politico
• The Internet Will Make You Smarter, Claims Study – Reuters
The rest of the week will assess Opinions, Pundits from the Right, Pundits from the Left, Media Watchdogs, and Fact-Checkers.
NewsTrust writes, “We invite you to review these stories and rate them for journalistic quality, so we can identify the worst stories at the end of the week.” They also want readers to weigh in with suggestions of bad journalism the site hasn’t tackled yet. “If you come across another example of bad journalism, please post it on our site (be sure to tag it “Bad Journalism” under Topics, so it will be listed in our News Hunt page),” they write.
The first thing we all need to know about information online is how to detect crap, a technical term I use for information tainted by ignorance, inept communication, or deliberate deception. Learning to be a critical consumer of Webinfo is not rocket science. It’s not even algebra. Becoming acquainted with the fundamentals of web credibility testing is easier than learning the multiplication tables. The hard part, as always, is the exercise of flabby think-for-yourself muscles.
NewsTrust writes that updates to the hunt and new examples to rate in each category will be posted daily here till the end of the week.