“I’m not in the news business and won’t tell people how to do their job. I’d like to restore trust in the news business, though, and feel that restoring fact checking will really help. News business realities mean that such fact checking has to be practical, it has to be fast and cheap.” — Craigslist founder Craig Newmark in in last Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle
This email is posted with Craig Newmark’s permission:
to [six journalists]
date Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM
subject Making bigtime factchecking real
Recently, Jeff Jarvis at the City University of NY held an event on restoring factchecking to the news business. He did a really good job getting a bunch of players in this arena to play well together. Special thanks also the to the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. (My contribution has been overstated, mostly prompting the event and tagging it as #factfest.)
Here’s my very brief attempt at getting my head around what happened and what’s happening with big deal factchecking. I’m biased, mostly wanting to have news again that I can trust, while figuring that I’m not in the news business and I’m not going to tell people how to do their job.
I’m subject to confirmation bias as well, wanting to see what I hope’s happening. Politically, I’m what I call a “libertarian pragmatist.”
1. Most people also want news they can trust again. That’s true of most journalists, but most find that their publishers find factchecking too lengthy and expensive. It’s like most publshers feel that if everyone else is cheating, it’s okay for them to cheat.
2. Specifically, people want news and opinion to be factchecked, that is, evidence and reality based. Even pundits should operate on the evidence.
3. There already exist independent networks of factcheckers, at politifact.com, factcheck.org, and sunlightFoundation.com. There are also partisan “factcheckers,” some of which operate in good faith, and some which deliberately seek to deceive. Read More