Movie credits are strange things. Most of us don’t bother to watch them (unless there are goofs and gaffs along the side, or we know there’s a twist after the credits finish). Many of them are written in a font too small to be legible or roll at such a clip that you have to be a speed reader to keep up. And virtually no-one knows what a ‘key grip’ does.
But it would be weird if they weren’t there. We like to know who directed a film, who produced it, who did the cinematography. If not necessarily when we watch the movie, but subsequently, and for posterity. Similarly, those involved in making a film want to be credited for their work in it.
So why aren’t there credits for other media content? Or if there are, why are they so paltry? Why shouldn’t there be, at the end of a news article about Afghanistan: written by, edited by, produced by, etc.? Instead of just a byline (and even this is often absent). All the information wouldn’t necessarily have to be visible, just available if you wanted it.
Not only would it give people more information about the piece/photo/video (i.e. how much work was put into it, whether it was produced by an organisation with a good track record etc.), but it would mean that those who worked on it were properly and accurately credited for their work.
This is one of the things newscredit does. It works a little like movie credits except for news. It enables the journalist to be properly credited for their work and, if they want, to credit other people involved in its production and credit the organisation that published it (it can provide a whole bunch of other helpful information too, like publication date and time, location etc…).
This is just one of the potential benefits of making news transparent. I’ll talk about some of the others in future blog posts.