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App keeps news bias in check

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Sullivan Bunyan
This is a headline of a Ground News story, every photo below relates directly to this one. (courtesy Ground News)

Ground News is a new website and app coming in with a new spin on combating media bias and misinformation. It’s fairly unknown, yet it provides more features than any other competitor I know of. 

     The way I learned of Ground News was actually from a YouTube video advertisement. I was intrigued, so I decided to download the app on my phone and see what it was all about. 

  

This is a way to show the the reader how many sources are reporting on this topic, how many sway which way and how recently it was updated. (photo courtesy of Ground News.) (Sullivan Bunyan)

  Firstly, it’s easily maneuverable and accessible. It asks you what you’re interested in, if that’s politics, funny events and more. It will ask you if you have a preference in local, nationwide and global news. 

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     Then on your feed from your preferences, it will begin to show you what you are interested in. You’re even able to follow specific events you want to learn more about.

     One of my biggest interests is the war in Ukraine. So when I started, I followed that topic, and now find it on a separate tab called “For You” where it constantly updates on topics you follow. 

     It is also extremely quick with posting this content. On a recent Friday in March, there was a terrorist attack in Moscow, Russia, and at first I wasn’t sure what was happening, as it seemed no U.S. media were reporting on it. I immediately went to Ground News and was informed of what, when and where it was happening. 

This is how ground news distributes bias of news agencies to help the reader determine a more opinionated view. (courtesy of Ground News) (Sullivan Bunyan)

     To be clear, Ground News doesn’t directly post stories, the way this works is that Ground News compiles all articles posted on a subject and curates the information. A key feature of Ground News is the way it identifies the bias of news agencies for readers.

     Under the headline of any story, it’ll have a bar with three colors corresponding to the rated bias of that particular news agency: Red would be left leaning, white would be politically neutral or doesn’t have a rating, and blue would be right leaning. 

     But the bias rating feature isn’t the only thing it provides to help make more educated judgments. When you click on a story, it will provide the factuality (provable facts), who owns that media, and the number of news outlets  covering that topic. It even has an AI function that can immediately answer questions about the topic with reliable sources.

     Along with all these features, it gives a reader a rating of their own bias, showing what they read most, who they  read most, and the biases that come along with those choices. All of this is an attempt to help readers realize how they can combat their own biases.

     Now these features come with a couple potential negatives. First off, some of them are behind a paywall, and not everyone is interested in paying a lot of money just for some statistics, but that’s the thing: It’s cheap, dirt cheap. 

     The basic subscription is only 83 cents a month, and the most expensive option is around $10 a month, with the middle ground being around $3 a month.

     Secondly, the way bias is rated can be misleading. Instead of individually rating each article, there are three third-party companies that review and anonymously rate news agencies as a whole, so any given story may not necessarily align with that bias. 

This shows the factuality rating of news agencies. (factuality means provable facts courtesy of Ground News) (Sullivan Bunyan)

     That means a news agency that’s rated with high bias and low faculty but posts a story that goes against that rating could be unfairly judged and then ignored by readers. Now I did ask someone at Ground News about this, and they didn’t directly respond about how it might mislead people; instead, they mentioned that they constantly update the ratings.   

     Past these problems I have no other issues. I’d say for a small team looking to make an impact, they’re doing very well, and I’d recommend people go and check it out. 

     Even if you don’t plan to pay for anything, the fact there are people actively trying to combat the modern-day misinformation and bias, is something that we all can value.

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About the Contributor
Sullivan Bunyan
Sullivan Bunyan, Staff Reporter
Hello, my name is Sullivan Bunyan and I'm a Junior this year on Titan Legacy Magazine. I enjoy reading books, playing games and paintball. Among other things I love to ski with friends and others.
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