Trustworthiness, independence and impartiality have long been buzzwords in the news industry. In the era of fake news, filter bubbles and algorithms, the terms have only become more prominent and powerful.
However, they are also fiendishly difficult to measure, so it is always interesting when new studies appear. A recent article in The Economist presented an experiment based on Google search terms to test the hypothesis that the search engine favors publications with political bias.
In the course of the experiment, the study compiled “accuracy ratings from fact-checking websites, tallies of Pulitzer prizes and results from a poll by YouGov about Americans’ trust in 37 sources”. Based on their research, the charts show that:
-Reuters has the highest ‘accuracy score’ of all the publications included
-Reuters tracks almost dead center on ‘bias score’, showing neither left-nor right-wing bias
Clearly this is only one piece of research - a snapshot of a moment in time – and it was not specifically setting out to measure accuracy and bias. Nevertheless, it is gratifying to see analysis that, once again, highlights the independence and trustworthiness of our journalism.
Our commitment to accuracy and impartiality is writ large in the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Irrespective of developments in technology or society, that commitment remains at the heart of what we do, every day, all over the world.
Stephen J. Adler is Reuters Editor-in-Chief