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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2016

Surviving in a Post-Truth, Post-Data, Post-Reason World

One of the biggest threats to journalism, and in some ways our very democracy, is the problem that we now have with the misinformed. I wrote a lengthy article about this earlier this year called "The Increasing Problem With the Misinformed", and during Brexit I also highlighted how badly the UK press added to the misinformation.

On top of this, we see study after study highlighting the increase of false and misleading information, we see how false information is repeatedly trending on Facebook, and we see how inaccurate information is getting substantial more engagement in forms of sharing and likes - further extending its reach.

All of this is causing publishers to struggle. How do you stay relevant in a world where people increasingly turn to false information? How do you stay in business when people no longer trust the news, and can tell the difference between good and bad journalism?

Well, the answer to these questions is obvious:

The only way to win this battle is by focusing on your reputation and dramatically raise the bar for what you consider good journalism. In other words, distinction is the only way to solve this.

This, of course, is much, much easier said than done. But no matter how big of a challenge this is, or how impossible it might seem, there is no other way to win this. You cannot post crappy news stories to keep up your traffic, and then at the same time stand out and have a reputation for something better.

The media industry is now at a point where something new has to happen, and where the choices we make will redefine the way we think about news forever.

So, in this article, we are going to talk about this shift, the challenges we face, and how to create a new future as a trustworthy source of news.

It's not a simple problem

One of the first things we need to realize about this problem is that there is no simple answer or quick fix. We can't just block the 'fake' news, because there is no real way of accurately distinguishing the good from the bad.

We see this very clearly in a marvelous study done by BuzzFeed News. They looked at 9 news sites. Three of them were traditional news sources, with the remaining 6 sites being either left or right hyperpartisan sites.

 
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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé

 

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