Champagne Hangover

NewsTrust Baltimore

By Victoria Karolenko

                     News is biased and so plentiful that it is sometimes tedious to sort through, especially when you are concerned about trustworthiness.  For busy college students and anyone else for that matter, quick, relevant and reliable news is important.

Delfina Ezcurra, a Junior Mass Communications major at Towson University, considers NewsTrust Baltimore as “ a one stop shop for news.”

NewsTrust is a national website with the mission of supplying the public with good reliable journalism. Gin Ferrara and Mary Hartney, collectively decided to begin a pilot project of NewsTrust in the Baltimore area.  Gin Ferrara, Community Manager of Newstrust.net, was attracted to NewsTrust because it is a “community-driven national news site.” Ferrara and Hartney, wanted to bring NewsTrust’s mission and ideals of good journalism to the people in the Baltimore area.  Their hope is for the idea of good journalism to expand in Baltimore, in hopes of it flourishing in the “local news ecosystem.”

NewsTrust’s mission is to help the public identify good journalism and distinguish between trustworthy and non-trustworthy news sources; which will in turn inspire the community to engage and take a critical analysis of local news. Ferrara’s ambition for Baltimore NewsTrust pilot is projected “teach news consumers to be more critical, connects media sources to new audiences, and supports educators in teaching media literacy.”

Ferrara and Hartney believe Baltimore would be an exceptional testing ground. NewsTrust Baltimore is a wonderful concept, however they do not have the publicity to help the pilot to become more known.  The more known NewsTrust Baltimore becomes the more it can flourish.  NewsTrust Baltimore is needed in the Baltimore area; it keeps the local journalism trustworthy and the journalists on top of their game.

NewsTrust Baltimore appeals to the public, yet how does the other side feel, the journalists that are being critiqued?  The overall thoughts are positive, the journalists that are on NewsTrust Baltimore follow their stories and critiques.   Most find the comments and reviews informative and strive to improve their writing and stories. Sometimes the comments point out flaws that journalists may not normally notice.

NewsTrust Baltimore Financial Future

              Since NewsTrust Baltimore is nonprofit, finances are tight and mainly used for running the site.  This makes it difficult for NewsTrust Baltimore to promote and advertise their mission.  There are two types of partners that help with this, educational and media partners.  Educational partners, like Towson University, promise to incorporate NewsTrust Baltimore in the classroom and have students write articles to advance the company.

               Krystal Mitchell, 21 year old Mass Communications Senior, found NewsTrust Baltimore to be “a good tool for journalism students and future writers, they [students] can go to NewsTrust and not only critique the stories and grasp what makes a good news story, such as relevancy, facts, sources and accuracy.”

              NewsTrust provides its educational partners with valuable educational tools.  The media partners consent to promote NewsTrust Baltimore when possible, this is usually through placing NewsTrust Baltimore’s widgets on their webpage.  In return, NewsTrust provides these media partners with feedback.  With maintaining a nonprofit status NewsTrust has struggled with finances.

            Unfortunately, since NewsTrust Baltimore is a nonprofit pilot project their funding will cease in July 2011 and without proper funding will possibly close then.  NewsTrust Baltimore’s financial sponsor is the Open Society Foundations, which has a satellite office in Baltimore. Some reasons to back this endeavor is that the mainstream media is shrinking and giving growth to a more independent media, and the local public secondary schools and local colleges.

              NewsTrust Employs College Students

              NewsTrust Baltimore contacted Towson’s Communications Department to get college students more interested and as a testing for the pilot.  Ferrara and Hartney hope to continue NewsTrust Baltimore, however that depends on if they can find a permanent partner for support.  Although funding is needed to keep the site running, the nonprofit aspect is important and will remain the same.  If NewsTrust Baltimore does not find a permanent sponsor by July 2011 the site will remain running but not to the full capacity that it is at currently.

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