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Jay Rosen @jayrosen_nyu
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
0/ I gave testimony today to the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy. I talked about an emerging approach to the production of trust in news. It's not standard now, but will, I think, become such over time. It has 9 or 10 interlocking parts, which I will now describe.
1/ "Here's where we're coming from" to replace the view from nowhere. There is something about the claim to objectivity— or, as I have called it, viewlessness — that now invites mistrust. A more human and believable approach is tell people where you're coming and let them judge.
2/ Very high standards of verification. This is not new, just basic. Newsrooms have a phrase: "bulletproofing" a story. It means to double and triple-check everything, while anticipating all lines of attack. Verification is the discipline over which journalists have to obsess.
3/ Clear priorities, publicly stated. Imagine you could click a link on any news site and find its current priorities: where they are spending scarce reporting resources— and why. When people ask, "and what's YOUR agenda?" this would be one answer, along with 1.) in this thread.
4/ A continuous improvement regime for listening to your public. Listening to demand. Listening for public curiosity (@wearehearken.) Listening to the data without becoming its slave. Listening for weak signals emitted by objects drawing closer. And getting better at this daily.
5/ Excellence in requesting, receiving and responding to criticism. Related to listening, yet not the same. Excellence in receiving criticism means radical openness to it. But also: skill in beckoning useful critique. And fighting back when criticism is depraved or illegitimate.
6/ Show your work. Explain how you did the story so people know what went into it. "Don't believe us? See for yourself." Here's the data... Here are the interviews... We put the spreadsheet online...
7/ "Help us investigate." Send us those impenetrable and outrageous hospital bills. Do you know of a police shooting that went unreported? Tell us. Here are the expense reports; look up your MP. Help us investigate.
8/ What it costs to do this work. Calculating and sharing with the users of it the per unit costs of outstanding works of journalism, so they know what it takes to do the job right.
9/ Not just the problem, but what can be done about it. In Europe, they call it "constructive journalism." In the US, solutions journalism. The idea: Your report is incomplete — lacks depth — unless it includes what we can do: as individuals, as a society or political community.
10/ Put it all together: Here's where we're coming from. High standards of verification. State your priorities. Continuous improvement in listening. Excellence in taking criticism. Show your work. Help us investigate. What it costs. Report on what's broken but also how to fix it.
11/ Summing up: Alongside the production of news, journalists have to become expert in the reproduction of trust, while at the same time they maintain high standards and tell hard truths. This is innovation in news work, but it has almost nothing to do with tech.
12/ In the US, the trust conversation is polarized to the vanishing point, like so much in our national life. But... That your interlocutor appears to live on another planet is no reason to let our imaginations go to sleep. These suggestions are pitched five, ten years out. END
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