We got used to NewsTrust Baltimore’s e-mails very quickly. More than a thoughtful amalgam of Baltimore stories from around the web, the alerts came with an invitation to think about the stories in a critical way and comment via a strict form included on the site. Inveterate web commenters might at first be offended by this kind of formalism, but it worked: The idea of rating which news sources are “trustworthy” is, of course, not new. But in using this form to guide self-selected readers, NewsTrust helped its readers (and itself) understand something about the news ecosystem from the point of view of both newsmakers and consumers. NewsTrust, launched via a now-concluded six-month pilot program but with its site still active, was filled with thoughtful, constructive criticism of stories and articles both local and global, and was blessedly devoid of moronic flame wars. In this age of partisan rancor, that is no small thing.

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