Whose News Do You Trust?

A novel approach to collaborative filtering launched a couple of weeks ago and is worth a look. NewsTrust is tying to develop a more reliable means of finding the most trustworthy news and information for specific stories – not simply by relying on your hunches and experience with your media, but by relying on the hunches, experience and detailed reviews of a community of news junkies who contribute to the service’s ratings. (Disclosure: I’m an advisor to NewsTrust).

My take: Trust is a big deal, and our trust research earlier this year with the BBC and Reuters demonstrated massive shifts in media consumption based on people’s trust – and distrust – in their media. NewsTrust is like Digg, del.icio.us and other social recommendation systems – all of which help break down the value proposition of individual media brands so users can evaluate trust story-by-story.

NewsTrust will need a much bigger audience to test its effectiveness. Right now, a handful of reviews for any given story don’t offer a great deal of insight to the news.

FYI, Fabrice Florin, founder of NewsTrust, will be at We Media Miami in February. He’s a smart and experienced entrepreneur and has built an impressive beta. I’m sure he could use your feedback to make the project event better – so check it out.

Also note: NewsTrust launched as a non-profit. That doesn’t mean it appears out of the ether and costs nothing to produce. But it does mean commercial channels of financing expansion and development are out of bounds. I’d like to know if it can fly as a non-profit. Will a community of dedicated individuals swarm around it and contribute, like Wikipedia? If not, my hunch is: no, non-profit won’t work. Too little cash.

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