Tackling news credibility and making it easier to be informed

There are many reasons young people don’t vote: difficulties getting registered, uncertainty it will matter, lack of time etc. These reasons have existed for decades but a new one that has recently come to the forefront is a lack of trust in our institutions.

America is now home to the least-trusting informed public of the 28 countries that Edelman, a research firm, surveyed, right below South Africa. Distrust is growing most among younger, high-income Americans.

One reason there are less informed individuals is because people correctly perceive a bias in every media outlet. This makes it hard for them to trust what they read and hence they are less likely to vote.  But the truth is that some news sources are far more credible than others and the level of cynicism and bias are not equal.

So when I came across a newsletter called The Factual, a company founded by a colleague, I was immediately hooked. It’s a free subscription, and on the first day I realized that this could help people be better informed about issues they care about, and ultimately get more of them to vote.

Each morning The Factual aggregates the top trending news topics and automatically rates the credibility of stories from hundreds of news outlets across the political spectrum.

The credibility rating is based on a scoring system that’s unusually transparent. Each article is graded on how diverse its references are, the author’s topical expertise, the factual tone of writing, and a site reputation score. What immediately stands out is the wide range of sources from across the political spectrum thus giving people a broader and complete picture of complicated issues in the news.

This is the beginning of what I hope will be more transparency in media and news bias, which will lead to a more informed and balanced electorate. And ultimately, more voters!

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