As we mentioned earlier this year, NewsQ wants to spend the rest of 2021 zooming out a bit to consider the question of news quality. We will reflect on this question, not at the article level (i.e., “Is this article better than that one?”) but instead will consider, using a broad focus, about how we consume information and experience news in general.
This is why NewsQ has decided once again to reconvene our panel discussion series. This year’s NewsQ panels will explore questions of news quality by examining the results of news aggregators and platform news products.
Key questions for 2021’s Review Panels
NewsQ is fortunate to have journalists, researchers, and technologists join us to address the following questions:
1) How can the separation of opinion from news in a news feed actually work?
Last year’s news opinion panel dove into the question about the value of opinion in journalism. By the end of the series, panelists concluded that there are problems when news (such as reportage) is blended together with opinion journalism.
With that conclusion in mind, the group determined that there seems to be value in cleanly separating news from opinion in journalism. However, separating opinion from news is easier said than done. For example, considering the category of News Analysis, implementing such a fine line between news and opinion might also require a lot of effort on the part of news organizations.
So how can this change happen, practically speaking?
2) How important is it for a news feed to be representative?
This question is related to the question of diversity in journalism as well as the place of local journalism, but is specific to contexts of democratic representation. Struggles within journalism outlets over the question of adequate representation travel downstream to news aggregators, where the issues of representing people and perspectives only become further muddied.
In 2021 we’ll consider the specific cases of Albuquerque and Los Angeles in order to help us think through the question of representation.
NewsQ Review Panel participants
For this year’s cohort, we’re are really fortunate to be gaining the experience of a number of journalists and scholars, and look forward to their thoughts:
- Nancy Ancrum, editorial page editor, Miami Herald
- Amara Aguilar, associate professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
- Karen Attiah, global opinions editor at The Washington Post
- Maria Bustillos, founding editor of The Brick House Cooperative
- Sewell Chan, editorial page editor, Los Angeles Times
- Matthew Ballinger, deputy editor for digital at the Los Angeles Times
- Megan Garvey, executive editor at LAist and KPCC radio
- Shaun Griswold, reporter for New Mexico In Depth
- Elena Jaya Gooray, opinion editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer
- Sarah Gustavus, co-founder of the New Mexico Local News Fund
- Arwa Mahdawi, columnist for The Guardian
- Ilia Rodriguez, associate professor at the University of New Mexico.
After meeting in sessions through September, the panels will aim to release their reflections later in the year.
The News Quality Initiative would like to express our appreciation to our 2021 panel participants for their willingness to share their time, energy, and insights. We look forward to conversations we will have for the rest of the year.