Earlier this month, Northeastern University professor Dan Kennedy, a longtime NewsTrust reviewer and advisor, invited his journalism students to review stories on NewsTrust as part of his Reinventing the News class, as he had done in previous years.
Prof. Kennedy prepared his students for this exercise with the help of Mike LaBonte, another veteran reviewer, host and advocate of NewsTrust. Since last year's partnership, we've developed a range of new educational tools to help students tell apart fact from fiction in the news.
Here's Prof. Kennedy's report about this year's project, republished here from his blog.
Social-networking the news with NewsTrust
As has become a ritual in Reinventing the News, last Friday, April 1, Mike LaBonte, an editor with NewsTrust, visited our class and helped run a demonstration. NewsTrust is a social network aimed at identifying and rating news stories on criteria such as accuracy, thoroughness and fairness.
This time, we took advantage of advancements in the NewsTrust software to try something new. Jon Mitchell of NewsTrust set up a group page for us, so all student reviews can easily be found there. Earlier today, students finished their NewsTrust reviews for the week and posted their thoughts about the experience on their blogs. Here are the direct links to their NewsTrust posts:
- by Dan Kennedy
As always, we were very impressed with the quality of reviews from Reinventing the News students, and we loved their blog posts about their experience. Here are a few of our favorite reflections from students:
"I enjoyed my rating exercise, because I’m much more knowledgeable with the site and now I can hopefully use it as a resource for my blog posts. I enjoy how users can rate journalists and weed out poor journalism."
- Brianna Tulp
"News Trust depends on many levels to function and ensure quality; from the thousands of people who rate articles to the editors to the admins. The basic concept behind News Trust is great, people can choose articles and be able to trust them before they even begin to read based on others comments. This is also its flaw though. Everyone should read articles critically and not rely on someone elses rating of the article as whether or not it is valuable"
- Sarah Moffitt
"Though NewsTrust isn’t generating the traffic I feel it needs to effectively serve its intended purpose, I plan to keep reviewing and posting stories to the site. I really like the interface and the concept put forth here, and I hope to see the community grow and the traffic grow until NewsTrust can properly filter the day’s stories."
- Taylor Dobbs
Prof. Kennedy offered these remarks after the conclusion of the exercise:
In my experience, NewsTrust helps students think critically about journalism -- what's good, what's bad and how a story could be made fairer or more thorough. Because I teach journalism, my hope is that NewsTrust will lead students to become not just better educated consumers of news, but more thoughtful practitioners of their craft as well.
We're very grateful to Dan and his students for participating on NewsTrust and sharing their good insights with us. A big thanks as well to veteran NewsTrust host Mike LaBonte for presenting our work to this year's class.
To learn more out educational partnerships with NewsTrust, check out our 2010 Education Report.
- by Jon Mitchell