In news we trust

These days, there are a million and one places to read the news. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a traditionalist who sits down at the breakfast table with your Cheerios & the morning paper, an on-the-go reader who skims the headlines on your smartphone on the commute to work or somebody who simply flips on the TV to catch the morning or evening news – everyone has their own news consumption habits based on their lifestyle. With blogs and independent websites growing faster than ever, news consumers have a multitude of options when it comes to what, how, when and where they are reading about what’s going on in their community, country and around the world.

Newstrust is a website that takes news consumption of the twenty first century a step further. The site allows news consumers to post and rate stories they’ve read from a multitude of news websites. Users, who are required to register using their full names, can read articles and comments posted by others, post stories they’ve come across or written themselves and comment and rate other stories that have already been posted.

recently signed up for Newstrust, as I’d never heard of the site prior to the introduction Mike LaBonte gave our class on Monday afternoon. I added and rated three stories to the site – a New York Times article about cyber bullying, an LA Times story about off-shore drilling in California and a Boston.com feature about at home shopping parties.

Once you’ve registered, the site is relatively easy to navigate. I created a profile and immediately started uploading stories, reading other articles people had posted and poked around in the different news categories. Rating stories is relatively easy – it’s much more convenient if the news site you’re using has the rating toolbar built into their site, but either way, assigning numbers to stories and adding commentary is relatively easy. It is, however, tedious. Having to answer a handful of general questions about a news article, ranging from how factually accurate the story is to how relevant and well written it is, wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m a busy student – I have a full course load, I work part time and when I do sit down to read the news, it isn’t necessarily to over analyze articles. And to be honest, there is so much news out there, I’d much rather be spending my time reading a second article instead of choosing whether a particular story deserves a 3.3 or a 3.7 rating. If a story I read is bad, I shrug and click to a different page. If it’s good, I post the link to my twitter account so my friends can read it as well.

While I believe Newstrust is based on a noble concept, I don’t think it will be a mainstream site any time soon. The majority of Americans barely read the news, let alone have time to rate it. The average news consumer doesn’t have time to sit down and rate every news story he or she reads and I just don’t see most Americans taking time out of their schedules to post an article to the site.

However, if a news consumer were looking for a more in depth analysis of the news, Newstrust is an excellent resource for them to utilize. And for those select few who are constantly watching, reading and breathing news coverage, Newstrust is a great site for observing what others are saying about the stories they’re reading.

As for me? I think I’ll just read the comment section.

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April 8, 2010. Tags: . Class Posts.

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