Crisis we are All sides: We have to fix the news
My grandparents watched Walter Cronkite. My parents read The New York Times. I grew up on NYTimes.com. What is next?
(Yuri Arcurs / Getty Images)The recent US elections have highlighted the harmful effects of misinformation. This malicious rumor, misplaced satire, and blunt falsehood has spread throughout our social media feeds with such power that it often attracts legitimate, obscure reports. any attempt a reader may make to find out if that is true or not. One problem is that many media sites have sprung up, driven by everything from advertising-based business models to extreme political views that exist primarily for clickable propaganda, can be shared on social networks. (Like this, claims Mark Zuckerberg is dead.) These headlines might surprise – because, hey, they’re not true! – they get more attention than headlines from trusted news agencies. According to a recent one News analysis on Buzzfeed, comparing the attention gained from the top 20 fake stories in the three months prior to the election with the attention coming from the top 20 stories shared by major news sites (you know, The New York Times, Washington Post Office, etc.), more people interact with fake news than real news during election preparation. (Check out their data here.Fake tools attracted 8.7 million shares, reactions and comments. The real things? 7.4 million.
At the same time, traditional media companies are under great pressure to generate credible reports and distribute it to a wide variety of audiences on extremely pervasive social media channels. These companies are usually legacy businesses that are still investing most of their resources in older formats like print or television. Their newsrooms are under-resourced, and their businesses are struggling as advertisers choose to spend less on those traditional formats, moving their money to the web.
It is imperative for the future of our democracy that we find a way to infuse life and confidence in our ailing journalism. After all, there is a reason why the media has long been referred to as the fourth estate, or the fourth branch of government. The press always exists to play a role of responsibility and power, to act as a supervisory agency of the laity.
Furthermore, when citizens of our country have equal access to information, they can participate in a shared conversation. Instead, we are all reading highly biased information shared on our social feeds by people we trust and those who share our political views. We, it will be much more difficult to discern which is exact. It’s the most dangerous effect of the filter bubble that our social feeds have on hand.
So who’s in charge of fixing this, Backchannelers? And how do we do that? Please weigh below.