Launched entirely on Substack, The Dispatch is a digital media company with a full content offering, including newsletters and podcasts, that specializes in politics, policy and culture, “informed by conservative principles.” Because it has an ideological lean, it would be easy for The Dispatch to devolve into an echo chamber of conservative commentary. Instead, the newsroom relies on that transparency to build trust with readers, whether they agree with The Dispatch or not.
“We don’t apologize for our conservatism. Some of the best journalism is done when the author is honest with readers about where he or she is coming from, and some of the very worst journalism hides behind a pretense of objectivity and the stolen authority that pretense provides.”The Dispatch
There’s a lot to learn from The Dispatch practicing transparency. Here are some highlights:
A stated agenda
The Dispatch doesn’t hide from its conservative roots. Instead, it leans into its political leaning. The Dispatch thus dispels any notion of unearned neutrality. This allows journalists to go about their work “without some unstated agenda,” because there is, in fact, a stated agenda: fact-based reporting and commentary through a conservative lens.
- The Dispatch: “When we provide analysis, we will endeavor to describe the opposing points of view with honesty and charity. When we report, we will do so without concern for whether the facts prove inconvenient to any party or politician.”
They don’t force balance
The Dispatch offers a Fact Check product, which aims to identify and correct false claims arising from the news cycle or social media, including “outright disinformation.” As The Dispatch puts it, such viral falsehoods are “to the detriment of our national discourse.”
But how does an openly conservative publication approach fact-checking? Factually, as it were.
- The Dispatch: “It’s not always accurate or necessarily in the public interest to try to force a perfect balance. There may be times when one ‘side’ is subjected to a higher percentage of our fact checks because there are relevant people making a disproportionate amount of false claims.”
This methodology proves out. The Dispatch Fact Check flagged false statements by both President Biden and former President Trump, while also exonerating Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in cases of misinformation. By not forcing balance, The Dispatch can accurately depict an unbalanced information ecosystem, despite its political inclination.