Is There Hope For Real Journalism?

In recent years, print publishing has been declining, and readers turn to Facebook for news. Now it seems the social media platform is prioritising posts from family and friends.

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It raises the question; can journalism survive in the era of fake news? It seems yes.

Last year, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism predicted that the downsides of technology would come to the fore and that we would start to see a backlash against platforms and algorithms.

Facebook faced heat as many Americans could have seen contentious social and political messages posted by Russia to undermine U.S. elections.

Without proper checks, it seems that a foreign power was able to use fake accounts to buy $100,000 worth of political advertising in an attempt to influence a crucial election.

Facebook’s engagement driven algorithm stands accused of pushing misinformation, propaganda, and polarising content into its news feed from Germany to Kenya to Myanmar.

The social media platform made a move by making an algorithm change to its newsfeed so users will see more posts from friends and family than “less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Photo Credit: Facebook

For publishers, the algorithm change meant re-examining the ways in which they engage with audiences instead of having to rely on social platforms.

“It will be a challenge but also an opportunity to re-engage with what they do best: earning audiences for compelling editorial content,” said Suggestv CEO James Pringle.

“Moving video investment and strategy from in-feed to on-site is the best place to start—publishers can grow valuable high margin inventory, monetise new and archived content, and most importantly, the engagement with this will support the publishers’ owned and operated spaces, not Facebook’s.”

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism sees 2018 platforms will be increasingly cautious of the reputation damage that often comes with news, while many publishers will be trying to break their dependence on platforms.

This year will also renew focus on data as the ability to collect, process, and use it effectively proves a key differentiator. Media companies will be actively moving customers from the ‘anonymous to the known’ so they can develop more loyal relationships and prepare for an era of more personalised services.

“This is a crucial year in the battle for the future of journalism. After years of ‘disruption’ will the digital platforms really act on the emergency they have created, which has brought about devaluation in the profession of journalism and a collapse of trust in media organisations and what they report?” Said Ben de Pear, Editor, Channel 4 News, UK

Do you think journalism can survive in the era of fake news?