Building trust in media
CiteIt is developing new digital tools that help combat misinformation and selective quotations. These tools show the context surrounding the quoted media in order to build trust and understanding.
Hello this is Tim Langeman, creator of CiteIt.net.
(Slide: 1) Addressing the Crisis of Trust in Media)
Often when I read a quotation, I think to myself, “that’s a nice quote, but I wonder what it says two sentences prior, or two sentences after the quote.
In other words, what’s the context, and how do I know that this quote wasn’t cherry-picked?
In Washington DC, the Jefferson Memorial has a badly cherry-picked quote etched into its northeastern wall.
Here it is:
Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free.
That sounds great, but this excerpt was actually taken out of context.
If the creators of the Jefferson Memorial had created a memorial today on the web using CiteIt.net, readers would be able to click on the quote to read the rest of the quotation from a linked web source such as the online Yale Law library.
The quote continues:
.. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them. It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and deportation ..
If you look at the context preceding the original quote,
you can see that Jefferson argued that slaves “born after a certain date” should be freed and deported “at a proper age”. That’s certainly not the impression most visitors get when they read the earlier quotation on the Jefferson Memorial.
2) A New Level of Transparency for Responsible Authors
We know that out-of-context quotations are not new and persist today.
This crisis of trust has grown more acute in recent years, exacerbated by a range of factors, from:
- misaligned business models, and
- partisanship, to
Substack is currently addressing the crisis of trust by providing writers with an alternate business model.
A second approach to increasing trust in media is to offer technology that provides readers with greater transparency into an writer’s sources, thus uniting quotations with their original context.
3) Substack Examples
I’ve mocked up a few popular Substack authors to demonstrate how Substack articles could look like if they used CiteIt.
The next step would be to add a button to the Substack editor, and call the CiteIt webservice to look up a quote’s context.
4) Wikipedia Examples
As an example of how CiteIt could look elsewhere, I’ve mocked up 8 Wikipedia articles, including this Ruth Bader Ginsburg article.
5) Audio and Video Citations
Finally (and more experimentally), YouTube videos, such as this clip of Malcolm Galdwell demonstrate it is possible for CiteIt to pull in the context from YouTube video transcripts when an writer quotes from them.
- Substack pioneered a new business model that builds a more trusted relationship between writer and reader.
- CiteIt’s contextual authoring tools could enable Substack to strengthen the reader-writer relationship and establish itself as a leader in trusted media.