We are career journalists who are deeply troubled by the state of things. We're alarmed by the eroding public trust in media and lack of faith in those who report the news. It's no exaggeration to say our industry is fighting for its life.
Mis- and disinformation sit at the center of the problem, which runs far deeper than the politically weaponized term "fake news."
The public simply doesn't trust the news media as it once did. They question our motives; they doubt our sources. They're losing the ability to discern fact from opinion and propaganda. In too many cases, they outright reject the possibility of factual news reporting.
We're not here to assign blame. We're here to help repair the relationships — so vital to a functioning democracy — between readers and reporters, between the public and the media.
The first step is bringing more transparency to our process. We must provide clear and reliable provenance for the news. If we expect the public to trust our work, they have a right to understand exactly how we work.
Pressland is a first-of-its-kind data-intelligence platform that maps global media production in real time. It's our mission to fight fake news, rebuild public trust and support counter-radicalization efforts in fragile regions.
This data is indexed, verified and distributed using the Universal News Protocol, a new open standard for media production.
We are launching with English-language, U.S.-based media, but have already begun planning for international and other-language markets.
What do we mean by a "new open standard for media production"?
Think of the data sources that make it possible to plan your entire vacation online. When you book your flight, hotel and car, you're confident the reservations will be honored. You trust the systems that work invisibly beneath Expedia, Trivago, Priceline and Orbitz, as well as the hotel, airline and rental websites themselves.
The entire travel industry runs on a set of shared protocols and data sources.
Or consider real estate. Whether you're house hunting on Zillow, Redfin or Trulia, you're tapping into shared sources of reliable home data. The same goes for countless other industries — from movie listings to investment data, song credits to weather forecasts.
Pressland is building something similar for journalism: a new layer of operational data that's accurate, reliable, interoperable and worthy of the public's trust.
It's not every day that new standards and protocols are proposed, written and implemented. This isn't easy. But it's not impossible, either. Other industries are decades ahead of journalism when it comes to standardizing their data.
Here are just a few enterprise analogues:
Publisher of Alternative Data standards for the financial industry
Universal unique identifier system for movie and television assets
Shared, standard data specs and sources for realtors, apps, platforms and service providers
Providing oversight and governance for the ACH banking network, Quest EBT and Healthcare EFTs