This blog post about our NewsTrust Baltimore local news experiment was written by NewsTrust Baltimore writer Andrew Hazlett and originally published on our Baltimore blog on June 6, 2011. It is republished here for the benefit of our national community.
This week, we're excited to kick off our first local Truthsquad on NewsTrust Baltimore. Truthsquad is our community fact-checking service, where our community helps us research controversial claims from politicians, pundits and public figures.
For the next two weeks, we'll fact-check a claim by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, about the state's public schools system. In a news release, he said that Maryland has "America's number one public school system." We need your help to determine if that's true.
Check out the page for this quote, and follow these steps to participate:
- Answer the question. Is it true or false?
- Review the related links.
- Answer the question again, if needed.
- Add your own links as research.
As you're considering the statement, you might want to ask yourself some questions: Who determines this ranking? On what criteria is it based? Have you had experiences with the public school system that lead you to believe or to question this statement?
At the end of the two weeks, we'll consider the evidence and reach a verdict, which we'll write up and post on this blog and on the Truthsquad page.
Please join in, and spread the word about this interesting new project!
More about Truthsquad
Truthsquad aims to revolutionize the field of fact checking by combining the best practices of crowdsourcing with the knowledge of experienced journalists. This new initiative empowers citizens to collaborate with journalists to fact-check controversial claims from politicians, newsmakers, corporations, political organizations and members of the media. Participants are invited to post questionable claims online, research factual evidence supporting or opposing these claims, and verify their accuracy as a community, with professional oversight.
NewsTrust created and tested Truthsquad in 2010, with funding from Omidyar Network and the help of partners at the Poynter Institute and advisors at FactCheck.org. The first pilots were well-received by online participants, partners and advisors, as well as by third-party observers, such as GigaOm. To learn more, read our pilot reports on PBS MediaShift, as well as on the national NewsTrust blog. NewsTrust has since hosted a variety of Truthsquads with other partners, including MediaBugs.org and RegretTheError.com, and with advice from Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.
NewsTrust has now formed a strategic partnership with the Center for Public Integrity for this project and is developing an ongoing service on Truthsquad.com, which is expected to launch in fall 2011. The goal is to create a one-stop destination for fact-checked information -- featuring its own findings, as well as promoting the work of other trusted research organizations, such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.
Join the Truthsquad, and help us separate fact from fiction.