September 14, 2018

Reflections from the TFS Team

Dear readers,

Happy Friday! Before we get down to our usual business, we’re going to try something new.

Over the past year we’ve received lots of questions about our process: how we choose what to cover, which articles to highlight, etc. While we try to answer them as best as we can, we thought it’d be fun/illuminating to highlight our daily struggles using real-world examples.

Here are some questions we regularly ask ourselves:

Are we covering trending topics that are substantive and/or provide fresh perspectives?

Some topics that didn’t make the cut this week include: Omarosa, Serena Williams, and the Nike ad controversy.

To what extent can we avoid inflammatory language without watering down a viewpoint?

We walk a fine line trying to accurately portray each side’s arguments without adding fuel to the partisan fire. For example, in our coverage of President Obama’s speech last Friday, we chose not to include quotes on the left calling President Trump authoritarian or quotes on the right claiming President Obama is a failed president.

Do we cover potentially substantive issues that are only being discussed on one side?

This is an ongoing philosophical question for us. On the one hand, we do think part of bursting media bubbles should be to alert each side of news stories on the other side. On the other hand, it strikes us as unfair to provide readers with only one side of the arguments.

Wednesday night was an especially late night as we went through three topics before finally settling on the fourth. The topics we didn’t choose were:

  • Right coverage / scant left coverage: New Strzok-Page texts indicate there may have been coordinated leaks within the intelligence community soon after the 2016 election
  • Left coverage / scant right coverage: On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order enabling sanctions to be placed on foreign countries who interfere in our elections. While conservative media outlets did report the news, there was little opinion/analysis

What we do is often more art than science. We like to think we get it right more often than not, but we can always do better. Please keep your feedback coming!

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our decision-making process. For more insight please visit our FAQ page. Now back to our regular programming!

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