The Merc compares wildly popular “news” site Digg, which dispenses with both writers and editors in favor of a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down voting system, with newly formed NewsTrust, which uses a similar approach but applies more rigour to the process by requiring voters to evaluate stories on a battery of 10 criteria. The result is that NewsTrust ends up with meatier, better-vetted stories capable of passing at least some kind of trust threshold.
NewsTrust’s more thoughtful approach can yield dramatically different top stories. On Tuesday, NewsTrust’s users selected “Top Ten Myths About Iraq 2006,” from a blog written by Juan Cole, president of the Global Americana Institute. Digg’s top story was “50 Reasons — why it’s great to be a Guy!!” from a blog written by someone named Mike in Los Angeles. Reddit, a Digg competitor that was recently acquired by Conde Nast, featured “Why iPods Are Never on Sale,” from Salon.com.
If human-driven filtering and aggregation is to become an important part of the news landscape, as it appears it will be, the simplicity of the mechanisms must be tempered in some way. NewsTrust is a great first step.