How TrueNews can save journalism
There’s no doubt that journalism is critical to all of us around the world. If you doubt that, why are you reading this blog?
In democratic countries, journalism serves to make visible events that affect your world, report on crime and abuse, and bring visibility to topics and events that you may want to, or need to, be aware of. Imagine if you only heard your news from the corporations and politicians directly, do you think that could be trusted?
In democracies, journalism is also how we get the info that helps us decide who to vote for in the next election, or at least it should if they are doing their job of informing the public without bias.
Critically, journalism provides a check on people in power, whether that be leaders of companies or politicians.
In non-democratic countries, journalism provides the same functions, though it’s often much more dangerous in non-democratic countries that don’t support the principle of independent journalism.
And we haven’t even talked about the challenges that journalism faces, brought on by ‘free’ news on social media and the explosion of fake news and disinformation across every form of communication. The reason for the challenges are many, here’s a statement from a 2020 survey of journalists:
“It is not surprising that 30% of our respondents said that job security was one of the most challenging aspects of being a journalist nowadays. Moreover, 35% of respondents believed the news industry would provide no job security for the next five years.”
Let’s state it plainly; there are forces (foreign and domestic) that are active, every day, every minute, trying to destroy the things we hold dear, by feeding us fake news and disinformation.
How can TrueNews contribute to saving Journalism?
Imagine if you could get your news, including the related facts and evidence, in one place. Worldwide, the public has few sources of reliable news and no place where the facts and evidence are directly linked to the Story. TrueNews provides viewers and contributors a way to create and view stories, facts and evidence, set up specific searches on topics of interest, and socially interact.
In TrueNews, contributors define stories with embedded Facts and Evidence, supporting citizen and professional journalism, and allowing users to directly vote on thestories (like/dislike), facts (believe/disbelieve), and evidence (real/fake), along with commenting and rewarding the authors.
TrueNews will be THE place to find the truth that we all need.
Protecting our Readers, Contributors and Moderators
Each person on Truenews creates an alias, and the connection to their real personal details are secured outside of TrueNews (in the MeUs Identity Engine, whose first principle is to protect the user’s information).
This security is critical because news viewers will be commenting, voting, and rewarding authors on the stories, facts and evidence that they review. Of course, it’s up to the reader to preserve their anonymity by not sharing their alias with anyone and being careful what they say in comments. And news contributors need anonymity too, for their own protection.
You can choose to ‘sign’ a contribution with your real name as well if you choose, and that wouldn’t be associated with your alias. Professional journalists and their companies can also have their bylines visible in their contributions.
And for those whistleblowers, who are an important part of any democracy and to journalism itself, there will be a special completely anonymous way to submit news items.
A new way to define news, with Stories, Facts and Evidence
Have you ever seen an image, article, audio or video clip taken out of context to twist its meaning? With TrueNews, the media submitted must be the entire image, audio recording, document or video of the interview or event. Duplicate media will be caught in the moderation/editing process, and the news contributor risks their reputation if they try to use doctored or subsets of the real media materials.
There will be multiple pieces of evidence all based on the same media asset, allowing us all to see if someone has only focused on a misleading subset of a video, or portion of an image, etc., and we can then vote, comment on that, bringing visibility to any fake news or disinformation being promoted.
All of this is completely transparent as well so that everyone knows the provenance or history of the news items.
Fully transparent and open
All activity by any user is available to anyone to see (except news items that aren’t published yet, it may be a scoop!). Every moderation of a comment, submission of a story, fact or evidence, and the comments and decisions made are available. In addition, TrueNews will provide a way for users to filter out particular authors or commenters directly or by reputation scores. That content will still be shown but will be blank to the user (and they can still see it if they choose explicitly to, except if they’re a minor and the content has been flagged as adult in nature).
Social in a Good Way
You can comment on any story, fact, evidence, user or comment that exists in the system. But unlike other platforms, your comments are tied to your one and only identity (alias), so they will follow you the rest of your life. And, for certain behavior, for example, if you use expletives in your comment post, the moderation step will detect this and your reputation score will be affected, which may filter you from some people’s feeds.
You can also express your opinion by voting on stories, facts and evidence. Stories can be voted either up, down or neutral. Evidence can be voted on as to whether you believe the evidence is real or fake. How that evidence is used is separate – that’s what facts are for – to build a case supporting that fact. Facts can also be voted on to show whether you believe or disbelieve based on the evidence.
Finally, as part of our quest to save journalism, you can reward (with money) any story, fact or evidence that you’d care to.
Some would argue that this can color the journalists’ intent, but I believe that this can be part of saving journalism. If I did the work and got that interview, or found that document and people want to contribute a little money to me or my organization (if I am writing for one), this provides an incentive both for journalism companies and citizens to get involved in journalistic activities.
Get News You Care About
The searches in TrueNews are different. Instead of using a search engine, who’s algorithms are inherently based to show you more of what you have already searched for, a user can set up a specific search on topics that they care about.
Maybe you want news that’s tagged with your zip code or city (to get local news), or on a particular topic (e.g. abortion, gun control). You can quickly get updates by using your custom searches and share them with others through social media links (preserving your anonymity).
We can all go on existing social media platforms and comment and rant away. In TrueNews, your comments on a story, fact or evidence can be associated with your alias (and therefore anonymous as long as you don’t share your alias with anyone) or can be posted using your real name – which you could do if you want to make an official statement as a newsmaker or if you’re an expert on something and want your comment to have the weight of your expertise on it.
Finally, and importantly, you can contribute a monetary reward to an author, to support their excellent journalism. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, if 20,000 of us contribute $0.50, that author would receive a nice reward for their efforts. This could help support good journalism in a new way.
So in summary, TrueNews is creating a whole new platform and channel for news, including social interaction through commenting and voting, incentivizing journalism through rewards, while achieving full transparency to the journalism process and protecting newsreaders and creators’ identities while exposing their calculated reputation scores.
Founder of TrueNews