FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NewsTrust launches local news site to promote good journalism in Baltimore

Online experiment invites Baltimore residents to rate local news stories and share the best reporting with each other.

Baltimore, MD (January 31, 2011) – NewsTrust, a nonprofit social news network, launched its first local news site in Baltimore today, to help residents find and share good journalism about their community.

NewsTrust Baltimore aims to feature the best news coverage in the region, selected from a wide range of local online, print and broadcast outlets. Participants are invited to rate news stories and discuss their quality, in collaboration with NewsTrust editors. Their top rated stories will be promoted around the clock on this virtual news hub about Baltimore.

Participants will use NewsTrust's online review tools to rate stories for accuracy, fairness, context and other journalistic qualities. The goal of this experiment is to invite the public to examine its local news ecosystem and identify its most reliable sources.

"This is a unique opportunity to help Baltimore citizens become better informed and more engaged about local issues — especially college and high school students," said Fabrice Florin, NewsTrust's founder and executive director. "Our service will show them how to tell good journalism from misinformation, so they can become more discerning news consumers."

This two-month pilot will take place in February and March 2011. NewsTrust will release its first findings in April and give awards to news outlets that are providing high-quality reporting, as determined by its reviewers and editors. Based on the success of this pilot, NewsTrust is considering a year-round service in Baltimore and in other cities.

NewsTrust Baltimore is funded by the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic organization promoting human rights, justice, and accountability.

“As media is rapidly evolving, with more and more outlets becoming available, it’s critical that all of us become careful and critical news consumers," said Diana Morris, director of Open Society Institute – Baltimore, a key partner in the project. "NewsTrust Baltimore will help all of us in this region to identify reliable, high-quality journalism, become better informed about what is happening in the community, and make better decisions.”

For this project, NewsTrust will partner with a number of local news organizations, including the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore magazine, The Mark Steiner Show (WEAA-FM), Urbanite Magazine and WYPR-FM, as well as online sites, including Baltimore Brew, Center Maryland, Citybizlist and Baltimore-area Patch sites. These media partners will invite their audiences to participate in this interactive quest, and many will include NewsTrust feeds and widgets on their websites.

NewsTrust is also partnering with several local colleges and high schools, including Towson University, the University of Maryland, Morgan State University, the Baltimore Freedom Academy and The Baltimore Civitas School. These educational partners will train their students to rate and curate the news on their own group pages, earning certificates for their work.

The NewsTrust Baltimore site can be found at baltimore.newstrust.net.


About NewsTrust
NewsTrust Communications is a nonprofit organization promoting good journalism, news literacy and civic engagement. Its mission is to help people find good journalism online, so they can make more informed decisions as citizens. NewsTrust has operated a national site for rating news coverage since 2006, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Sunlight Foundation and Google. NewsTrust founder Fabrice Florin is a former journalist and a digital media pioneer at Apple and Macromedia, as well as an Ashoka Fellow for his work as social entrepreneur. More information is available at newstrust.net.

About Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities. More information is available at opensocietyfoundations.org.

Contact:

410-962-5707 (w); 410-350-6637 (c)

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Press Kit:
To find out more about NewsTrust, check our online press kit.