Saturday, December 02, 2006


Newstrust "next-generation" news aggregator may work with New England News Forum

The New England News Forum initiative at UMass Amherst is considering working
with the non-profit California startup, Newstrust, to operate Newstrust New

A story below from The Guardian, U.K., refers. Both Jemima Kiss, the author,
and Fabrice Florin, Newstrust developer, attended MGP2006.

Also see:,,1960653,00.html

'Next generation' news site to launch

By Jemima Kiss
Thursday November 30, 2006

A non-profit news project in the US is aiming to combine the appetite for fast,
aggregated news tools with a campaign to promote quality journalism.

Newstrust is being hailed by its producers as the next generation of social
news websites and is hoping to promote the credible journalism and media
literacy among its audience.

Launching in full this week after a seven-month trial, users sign up and
recommend news stories by linking, rating and tagging articles on any news
website. The executive director, Fabrice Florin, said the site differs from
existing aggregators like Digg and because it measures not just the
popularity of the story, but asks readers to consider how balanced it is, the
diversity of sources it refers to and whether it provides enough context.

"We aim to go beyond popular appeal to the next level of measuring and tracking
the quality of a piece," said Mr Florin, a former journalist and digital media
entrepreneur who has worked at Apple and Macromedia.

He said that by building up an archive of ratings and recommendations over
time, Newstrust will provide an increasingly comprehensive database of
credibility for individual publications and even individual journalists. Blogs
are rated and assessed alongside mainstream news organisations. Mr Florin said
that comment pieces are just as relevant as long as they present their argument
logically and factually, and acknowledge the counter argument effectively.

"We want to encourage people to use critical thinking and encourage media
literacy. All of us tend to make snap judgments based on our pre-existing
opinions - the first thing we look at in a piece is whether it is a view we
agree with." He said people will become more discerning about the news that
they link to, and that current services evaluate news based on the "mob vote".

Newstrust has around 1,600 members rating news stories so far, all of whom are
encouraged to sign up using their real names and detail their background,
politics and experience on a public profile page. Other news aggregation
services, most notably Google News, rely solely on computer-driven algorithms
to compile and rate news stories. One Google News executive, Mike Dickson, is
on the Newstrust board, and Mr Florin said that Google is interested in working
with Newstrust to improve its own news service.

Newstrust is working with the University of Massachusetts, the University of
California at Irvine and at Stanford University to promote the site and partner
on some relevant research.The site is focused on English-language news but
hopes to expand. Mr Florin said Newstrust also wants to partner with news
organisations to include its ratings system next to stories.

"We're not on a vendetta against mainstream media. Still the bulk of the best
journalism comes from them," he said.

ยท To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or
phone 020 7239 9857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian
switchboard on 020 7278 2332.


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