Who and what can we trust?
In a time where the phenomenon of fake news is growing and social media enables fake news to reach a larger audience, we will have to be more careful where we gain our information. Last week, I went to a seminar where fake news was the topic and the aim was to discuss what impact it can have and how it can be prevented. The seminar was at the company Narva which is a communications agency. The seminar was in a form of panel discussion where they had invited three persons: Jack Werner, Isobel Hadley-Kamptz and Jonas Nordling. All three are working with journalism in one way or another. Both Jack and Isobel is active on Twitter and it was through Twitter I knew about this seminar.
The first topic was to define what fake news is. As the term “fake news” has grown and it has been used for different kinds of news, the definition has started to become indistinct. However, the panel set the definition to be: fake news is journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation spread via the traditional print, broadcasting news media, or via Internet-based social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically attention. One example is where a letter to the editor was published where both the content and the writer were fake. With further investigation, it was discovered that the writer never existed in the city he/she mentioned to live in. This leads to the questions: who and what can we trust?
One of the main discussion point was whether the reader or the journalists and newspapers should be responsible for fact-checking the sources of an article. Should the reader be better on investigating the source and be more cautious on eye-catching headlines? Or should the news media have the responsible for doing the fact-checking. My opinion is that both sides carry this responsibility, however as a reader you carry the bigger responsibility for your own. One solution that was mentioned by Jack Werner was that you could include a basic journalism class in elementary school to make children aware in young age how content and information is created. This could increase the quality of the newspapers regarding fact-checking as the common reader have a better understanding of the creation of content.
This was only a small part of what was discussed in the seminar and it would not make sense to try to cover everything. What do you think – what responsibility do you have as a reader? Could we as entreprenurs create something to solve this problem?