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More about NewsQA and JTI

In retrospect, I should have described NewsQA before yesterday’s meeting, to frame the discussion and help people decide whether to attend. With that in mind, I want to say a few things about next week’s topic, JTI. Both projects use online data sharing and have real potential to combat disinformation, in very different ways.

First, here’s what I should have said about NewsQA:

  • The NewsQA project, run by Jeff Jarvis’s group at CUNY, is building a service that will aggregate signals of credibility, to be available at no cost in 1Q20. Access will likely have restrictions related to intent.
  • They’re currently working with about 100 credibility signals about domains, provided by various commercial and public data providers. They have data for about 12,000 domains serving news content, mostly in the US.
  • They would like wider review and potential standardization around those 100 signals. They also have experimental/research questions around the project for which they’d like community discussion and input.

The presentation included more about this, as well as plans for the future and open questions. You can read the notes of yesterday’s meeting or see the slides for more detail. Here’s the key architecture slide:

Looking forward, I’m thinking:

  • We should look over the list of 100 signals, try to align them with other signals folks are using, and make sure they’re documented in a way others can use
  • I’d like to understand the ecosystem around data providers and consumers. What’s motivating each party now, and what do we expect in the future
  • How secure are these signals against manipulation and misuse?
  • And then we have all the questions that came up during that meeting, still needing a lot more work before we have answers. (Like, “What is news?”)

Meanwhile, next week we’ll be hearing from the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI). My understand of JTI:

  • The project is led by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which has a strong reputation in fighting news censorship and bias
  • Using an open standards process (under CEN), they’ve gathered a community and together written down a general consensus of how news organizations ought to behave. The idea is that if you follow these practices, you’re far more likely to be trustworthy. If you can show the world you’re following them, especially via some kind of certification, you probably ought to be trusted more by individuals and by systems.
  • There’s a survey (start here) with about 200 questions covering all these rules and practices. Some of the questions are about whether you do a thing journalists are supposed to do, and others are asking you to disclose information that journalists ought to make public.
  • There are still wide open questions about how the data from those 200 questions might be published, distributed, and certified.
  • The deadline for comments is 18 October so now is the time! Issues around data transfer can (and will have to be) settled later.

That’s the topic for next week’s meeting. We’re expecting several key people from JTI to attend. I hope to see many of you there.

One Response to More about NewsQA and JTI

  • Thanks, Sandro! This looks great, and we look forward to pitching the JTI next week.

    The deadline is indeed just three days after this meeting, so if anyone thinks that they may want to make a comment to help make these international standards better, they might want to block out a bit of time to go through them.

    And if I can help in any way, please let me know.


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