I’ve been quietly chatting with editors, publishers, and journalists for over a decade, hearing the same concerns (and not generally not for attribution).
Me, I’m only a news consumer, I just want news I can trust.
I was really glad to hear from Erica Berger, writer and founder of new media company Catchpool, on the record, in a remarkably honest piece The Next Generation of Journalism Students Have No Idea What They’re Getting Into.
Erica’s work captures what I consistently hear from people in news:
"The constant pressure of deadlines and the realities of the journalism economy can lead to feelings of disempowerment. And when journalists feel disempowered, they not only lose their ability to do their jobs well–they also stop caring about whether they do a good job."
"If the media continues to be created and spread at such a rapid rate, we know the effects are unlikely to be positive. Fact-checking already has a troubling tendency to fall by the wayside. The need to churn out constant content also means that editors often lack the time to do more than proofread."
I’ve seen this frequently happen in areas where I have some domain knowledge, specifically in the tech industry and politics.
I believe that a [trustworthy] press is the immune system of democracy. And with that in mind, I've got 3 suggestions for making news more trustworthy again…
1. I believe that there’s hope for the resurrection of trustworthy press via TheTrustProject.org. The vision there is to find ways for news orgs to commit to codes of ethics and accountability.
2. News aggregators could use codes of ethics and accountability to rank their articles more highly. In theory, advertisers and subscribers will then pay more for “quality” content. This could cause a sea change in an industry that’s currently overwhelmed from all angles, whether it’s content creation, monetization, or the consumer.
My hope might be forlorn, but I’ve committed real resources for this, and I’ll remain hopeful… and persistent.
If you’re, like me, a news consumer, keep checking out TheTrustProject.org.
3. If you’re a news professional, make sure your news outlet publishes a code of ethics and some procedure for seriously correcting what needs to be corrected.
This is just a start.