Title: Credibility, journalism, and libraries — ideas of trust and responsibility
Host/Reporter: Jeanine Finn
Discussion: We had a wide-ranging discussion highlighting several themes related to credibility that are concerns for both journalists and librarians. As we work to broaden civic conversations and make room for the public to “report” on news and information, we may not be able to rely on traditional methods to evaluate source credibility. However, the ideas of critical thinking and contextual evaluation of sources remain important — whether the environment is analog or digital.
Our themes included:
Wikipedia-style collaborations. While the “anybody can edit it” model circumvents traditional models of authority, “many eyeballs” and a social contract and work to provide an ultimately fairly reliable resource.
Accountability is important. Is there a sense that misinformation has consequences within the community?
Local news is often under-reported, but offers real opportunities for citizen journalism engagement. Local reporters need to be on seen to be credible witnesses to local government activity (which is admittedly, often not terribly exciting) and be part of holding government accountable. We talked about projects like ProPublica and Knight Foundation efforts.
(hit post too soon!)
The role of “Truth.” Without getting too epistemological….while a shared truth is important for a community, the role of newspapers and libraries in supporting multiple views is extremely complex. Do we want to be the gatekeepers? Libraries have long had selection policies and tools for evaluation; journalists have their own professional models for evaluating sources. In a networked environment, the contexts for evaluation are even more important. Credibility is different in a scholarly environment than in a news environment, for example. Being mindful of those contexts is part of our shared work.