The Web Summit 2021 is taking place in the city of Lisbon. Today marks Day One of the event. One of the side event of Day One was “Why Don’t People Trust The News?”.
The session was hosted by Erika ALLEN of Vice Media. On stage to answer her questions were three invitees whom are part of the news industry : Alessandra GALLONI Editor-in-chief at Reuters; Daniel KLAIDMAN, Editor-in-chief at Yahoo News and Kat Downs MULDER, Managing Editor of Digital News at the Washington Post.
Fake news as defined on Wikipedia is false or misleading information presented as news.
The main focus on the stage was Fake News and the mistrust of people towards news. Many times, fake news has had impacts on people’s behaviors and decision making.
In March 2020, that is when COVID-19 hit, a couple took a medication that Donald Trump has deemed as a cure for the Coronavirus. The man died and his wife was in critical condition.
A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife was in critical condition after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks that is also found in an anti-malaria medication touted by Donald Trump as a treatment for Covid-19.The Guardian
Overall, statistics show that people don’t believe in mainstream media.
Recent voters institute found that, out of forty-six countries polled, half of them have less than fifty percent trust in the news, said Allen
Why Is There So Much Mistrust In The News Today?
With the coming of social media platforms, it is easy to stumble upon a post and then share it. The post is shared again and again, until it gathers enough momentum to the point where it either becomes “news” or “fake news”. Most people will not pay attention to rather it is an opinion or not.
Alessandra GALLONI, Reuters, said that there are two reasons behing the mistrust in the news : polarization and disintermediation.
“Over the past decade or more, social media and other platforms have allowed disintermediation”Alessandra GALLONI, Reuters, at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon
With Social Media being an easy way to publish anything, she continued to say that, governments, institutions, individuals, no longer have to go through the press to ger their messages out.
Daniel KLAIDMAN, Yahoo News, agreed with GALLONI and added his opinion on the subject. As far as he’s concerned, other factors play a role in said mistrust. There’s a mistrust in organizations rather “it’s governments, or business or NGOs and the media”.
“To earn back trust, this isn’t going to happen quickly. It’s not going to happen just because of what, we, the media do”Daniel KLAIDMAN, Yahoo News, at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon
In the past things were different, the trust in the media was alive. People were watching the “same news”, reading the “same newspapers”. With the advance of technology and notably the founding of Internet, it became easier for people to spread their opinions and misleading information. As such, we are no longer watching or reading the “same news“.
As individuals, we share what peaks our interest and we disregard what doesn’t align with our convictions.
It goes without saying that there are barriers to building trust back in the news. Aside from technology, other challenges need to be overcome.
[…] more and more things competing for our attention. The ability to constructs our own verticals of information, select the creators that we directly go to for news.Kat Downs MULDER, The Washington Post, at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon
Alessandra GALLONI, Reuters believes that facts checking is important. As far as Reuters is concerned, “we try to follow the path of strictly fact-based, rigorously fact-checked journalism”, she said. That is why “Reuters is considered one of the most trusted news organizations in the world”, she added.
Aside from facts checking, GALLONI, believes that barriers can be overcome in news gatherings, news production, in the way news is convey on a daily basis.
The way to erode these barriers […] is in our news gathering, our news production and what we do every day.Alessandra GALLONI, Reuters, at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon
Fact-based reporting is extremely important as it avoids the spreading of fake news and could also help individuals regain trust in news organizations. People like their own type of news reporting. However, when one looks for news, one main objectif remains the same, the truth is what is being sought.
We have to find a way to make and encourage people to embrace the facts.Daniel KLAIDMAN, Yahoo News, at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon