Next steps for NewsTrust
Because of your interest in NewsTrust, I would like to give you an update on next steps for our social news network.
After six years building NewsTrust into a valuable online resource, the time has come for me to move on -- and I have just joined Wikimedia as product manager for new editor engagement. My role there is to create new tools to help Wikipedia readers become editors and share what they know. I am very excited about this opportunity, which will enable me to apply many of the lessons we learned together here at NewsTrust, and offer them on a much wider scale. (For those of you who are interested, the first new product I am developing for Wikipedia is a new version of their Article Feedback Tool.)
As a result, I will no longer be able to run or support NewsTrust's social news service, which I have been funding personally since September 2011, when our funding ran out. Our goal is to continue to offer NewsTrust as an educational service, but no longer as a consumer destination, so the news listings on our home page and topic pages will only be available through the end of February 2012. We are now planning to donate our assets to a trusted nonprofit organization which will provide that educational service, and we expect to make an announcement next month. More on this later.
For now, our social news site will remain live for about another month, but will no longer be curated by any staff members. If you are an existing member or host, please take a moment to correct any errors within your area of expertise. If you are a new member, you are welcome to review stories on our site, but we will not be granting new posting privileges. If you would like to continue to get emails from us in coming weeks, you can subscribe to our daily MyNews email, for a personalized listing of news stories based on your interests. Simply click on MyNews under your name at the top of any page on our site to start your MyNews page, then go to the Email Newsletters page to change any of your email subscriptions. Enjoy ...
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has participated in the NewsTrust experiment for your wonderful contributions to our cause. I have really enjoyed working with you all and I think we have learned a lot together. I hope that we will all be able to carry out these findings into our own lives, to help our communities separate fact from fiction and make more informed decisions as citizens.
Thanks again -- and best wishes to you all!
Founder and Executive Director
UPDATE: Community Responses (Jan. 16, 2012)
I would like to thank everyone who contacted me to express their support following this announcement. Your kind words mean a lot to me, and I am deeply grateful for your insights. I have excerpted below some of these messages, which reflect the impact that NewsTrust has had on our diverse community. For more perspectives, check our testimonials."
" [NewsTrust] seemed to be a tremendous success on many levels. ... I, for one, was transformed by the experience. Once a proud, vocal, "bleeding heart" liberal, involvement with NewsTrust made me a more compassionate person in my personal life. I now find it easier to disagree without becoming disagreeable, at a time when the political tide seems to continue to swell against such "rash" behavior as compromise. So, if NT did nothing else, it changed my life for the better. I believe I am a better educated news consumer. I am definitely able to around my ultra conservative family members now and understand where they are coming from, even if it isn't a place I personally find logical.Thank you!"
Dale Penn - NewsTrust host and reviewer, Florida
"Newstrust was a Sisyphean effort in many ways, but incredibly worthy. I think all of us who participated benefited hugely from the tools you and your team created to abet critical thinking and informed analysis. I believe your philosophy and the groundwork you laid will continue to have an impact in this constantly morphing world of news and (mis)information. I wish you the best at Wikimedia. They are lucky to have you."
Terry Gamble - Author and former NewsTrust board member, California
"There still is so much good journalism out there, but in the 24-7, Web-driven communications environment in which we all now live, good journalism can easily get lost in all the noise. NewsTrust has been smart and creative in using this new platform to present news and news analysis in a way that promises to engage readers who might otherwise never pick up a newspaper. And in a way that values good journalism as something more than mere 'content.'"
Christine Shenot - Former newspaper reporter at the Orlando Sentinel, Florida
"Congratulations on this new chapter! You did an amazing job building NewsTrust and I know you will thrive in this new role."
Calvin Sims - News Media Program Officer, Ford Foundation, New York
"I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated NewsTrust … enjoyed is the wrong word. It has pointed me to stories I never would have found, and over a broad spectrum of opinions/positions. I found out about NewsTrust at an ALA meeting some while ago, and have relied on it ever since."
Pam Soreide - Library Director, Holdrege Area Public Library, Nebraska
"I wish you well, Fabrice, in your newest role. However I must add that to me, this seems like the loss of a whole community. Those of us who have been members for some time and have reviewed and posted and read both stories and others' reviews recognize well many of our fellow members' names and, speaking for myself at least, often look to their reviews of articles to discover how valuable it may be for us to read. As i read the future here, it seems not likely that this community of familiar names (and faces on the page) will survive for long as I believe some organization/administration is necessary in preserving a communal sensibility. I believe this level of interaction is unique in news sites and i will miss it very much, as I will miss also the opportunity to read such an eclectic range of articles and assessments from so many varied sources. I have much appreciation for so many of you other members who have brought such great stories which you h ave assessed as fairly and honestly as we are able."
Patricia L'Herrou - NewsTrust host and reviewer, Virginia
Thank you for your vision and leadership in creating and running NewsTrust. I've learned a lot being a part of it as a member, host, editor, and working on various projects; thank you so much for the opportunity to do so. As you stated in your email, it is true that I have taken what I've learned here and applied it to so many other things. ... I am happy to hear that NewsTrust will live on in an educational context, where I think it will do much good to help students become more discerning news consumers -- something all of society needs!"
Kristin Gorski - Teacher and NewsTrust editor, New York
Many thanks to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts about NewsTrust and what it meant to you. It's been a wonderful adventure for me as well and I am so glad it gave us a chance to work together. I hope we'll get a chance to collaborate again in the future. To be continued ... Fabrice