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The National Consensus News Index (NCNI)

An experiment in creating a diverse, authoritative, auto-generating news source for the post-truth era.
Published onFeb 25, 2018
The National Consensus News Index (NCNI)

See the Index


The National Consensus News Index, or NCNI, is a stable index of national and local journalists on Twitter. Inspired by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the idea is to see if collecting the tweets of a predictable group of top journalists from multiple mediums, political leanings, and geographies can, over time, generate a consensus view of the top national news stories that people from across the political spectrum can turn to and trust for authoritative information about what the nation’s top stories are at any given time.

The components were chosen in an attempt to maximize two competing goals: consensus and diversity (of mediums, political leanings, geographies, and demographics). Like the DJIA, the idea is that over time both the categories and individual components of the index will change to better reflect the American news landscape. Right now, the components are chosen by me, because I created it. If the idea takes off, I’d like to create some kind of independent, self-governing entity to maintain it.

The NCNI is broadly based on this proposal to create a cooperative “reverse wire” that can combat hoaxes and misinformation on social media, particularly during times of breaking news, by allowing news organizations to add their stories to “consensus” topic pages. Because that idea requires a high degree of coordination among media outlets that is unlikely in the current business environment, this index will serve as a proof of concept of creating consensus news from a diverse array of sources.

Right now, it’s just a Twitter list and a pretty bad In the near future, I’ll build a basic site that includes multiple ways to filter, stream, and share the output of the NCNI, particularly by story, which should make the output far more interesting to browse. I invite others to contribute their ideas for filtering, measuring, and composing the NCNI.

How to Help

  • Send feedback on the structure and components of the index by replying to this post or tweeting at me (@gabestein). I basically made this up on the fly, and I’m sure there are many ways to improve it, particularly when it comes to diversifying voices, sources, and mediums.

  • Suggest or build useful ways to quantify the goals or tweet-output of the index.

  • Build, apply, or suggest a new filter for the index (let me know on Twitter or in a reply to this post if you do). The raw tweets, while interesting, aren’t particularly useful. I’m interested in coming up with ways to filter the tweets on the index by link, topic, entity, geography, sentiment, authority, medium, etc., which is the first, easiest filter I’ve turned to, is obviously a short-term stop-gap – although the results are intriguing.

Current Index Components

Last update: Feb 25, 2018

(10) Lead anchors from “big 3 + 1” primetime weekday and weekend broadcast news: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS

  • Jeff Glor, CBS Evening News

  • Reena Ninan, CBS Evening News (weekend)

  • Elaine Quinjano, CBS Evening News (weekend)

  • Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News

  • Jose Diaz-Balart, NBC Nightly News (weekend)

  • Kate Snow, NBC Nightly News (weekend)

  • David Muir, ABC World News Tonight

  • Tom Llamas, ABC World News Tonight (weekend)

  • Judy Woodruf, PBS NewsHour

  • Hari Sreenivasan, PBS NewsHour (weekend)

(5) Lead anchors from “big five” Sunday morning talk shows: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN

  • Chris Wallace, Fox (no personal account, via show account)

  • Jake Tapper, CNN

  • George Stephanopoulos, ABC

  • Chuck Todd, NBC

  • Margaret Brennan, CBS

(11) Lead anchors from “big 3” afternoon/evening (4pm–11pm EST) weekday cable news: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC (news and politics only, as defined by Wikipedia — no opinion, panel, talk, commentary, “current affairs” style shows)

  • Jake Tapper, CNN (repeat)

  • Wolf Blitzer, CNN

  • Don Lemon, CNN

  • Anderson Cooper, CNN

  • Erin Burnett, CNN

  • Neil Cavuto, Fox News

  • Martha MacCallum, Fox News

  • Brett Baier, Fox News

  • Ari Melber, MSNBC

  • Nicole Wallace, MSNBC

  • Chuck Todd, MSNBC (repeat)

(6) 1 White House correspondent each from NYT, WaPo, WSJ, Politico, Daily Caller, Washington Times

  • Maggie Haberman, NYT

  • Philip Rucker, WaPo

  • Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ

  • Annie Karni, Politico

  • Sagaar Enjeti, Daily Caller

  • S.A. Miller, Washington Times

(6) 1 national correspondent each from NYT, WaPo, WSJ, Politico, Daily Caller, Washington Times

  • Simon Remro, NYT

  • Scott Wilson, WaPo

  • Shayndi Raice, WSJ

  • Cristiano Lima, Politico

  • Christian Datoc, Dailey Caller

  • Valerie Richardson, Washington Times

(6) 2 mainstream liberal commentators, of choice

  • Josh Marshall, TPM

  • Catherine Rampel, WaPo

(2) 2 mainstream conservative commentators, of choice

  • Jonah Goldberg, National Review

  • Ross Douthat, NYT

(2) 2 mainstream non-aligned commentators, of choice

  • Noah Smith, Bloomberg View

  • Dan Drezner, WaPo

(1) 1 far left commentator, of choice

  • Seth Ackerman, Jacobin

(1) 1 far right commentator, of choice

  • Joel Pollack, Twitter

(1) 1 media critic

  • Brian Stelter, CNN

(20) 1 anchor/host for one local news station in each of the top 20 DMAs (chosen more or less at random due to lack of Nielsen access)

  • Pat Harvey, CBS NYC

  • Robert Kovacik, NBC LA

  • Eric Horng, ABC Chicago

  • Mike Jerrick, Fox Philladelphia

  • Steve Eager, Fox Dallas

  • Will Tran, Kron San Francisco

  • Liam Martin, CBS Boston

  • Justin Farmer, WSB Atlanta

  • Pat Lawson, NBC Washington

  • Rekha Muddaraj, CBS Houston

  • Huel Perkins, Fox Detroit

  • Alison Rodriguez, ABC Phoenix

  • Gayle Guyardo, NBC Tampa Bay

  • Mark Wright, NBC Seattle

  • Michelle Tuzzee, ABC Minneapolis

  • Lauren Pasterna, CBS Miami

  • Tracy McCool, Fox Cleveland

  • Kyle Clark, NBC Denver

  • Vanessa Echols, ABC Orlando

  • Liz Kreutz, ABC Sacramento

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