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Truth, trust and technology:
How can journalism survive the information
crisis?
Professor Charlie Beckett
LSE
NU lecture
March 2019
Has the world gone mad?
Has the post-Enlightenment dream of an
informed society turned into digital dystopia?
Getting worse before it gets
better
1. Governments, corporations, lobby groups now
investing in information manipulation
2. New channels, platforms and networks will provide
fresh distribution outlets for misinformation
3. Failure to address systematic problems means we
treat symptoms not structural challenges
Fake news is good news for (good) journalism
Truth, trust and technology:
rethinking the agenda
Truth
Abundance
Misinformation
Disinformation
Bias
Subjectivity
Anti-media strategy
Living in a multi-truth world?
• Lots of different sources –
golden age of ‘choice’
• Stream of social means news is
blended
• News gap – people’s agenda is
different to newsrooms
• Increasing role of emotions and
identity in consumption of news
Improving news media credibility
• Increased resources for public
service news
• Fact checking
• Credibility signalling
• Better story-telling
• Transparency
• Better emotional literacy from
journalists
Trust: re-thinking the relationship
Living in a low-trust world?
• Loss of trust applies to most authority, not just media or politics
• Is it a bad thing? Scepticism and lack of deference are good
• Cynicism and apathy and general distrust not so good
• Trust is a relationship – being more truthful will help
Improving Trust
• Transparency will help: open, honest, expert
• Humility: listening, seeking expertise
• Accountability: interactive, open, responsive, codes
• Relevance – widen the agenda
• Diversity – change the newsroom, understand audiences and the
wider public(s)
• Change the news organisation - collaboration, crowd-sourcing,
membership
Technology: the problem with algorithms
driven by the attention economy
• Harm (children)
• Offence
• Extremism
• Polarisation
• Misinformation
• Emotional drivers
Technology
• Tech is not neutral – it can be subject to public policy like anything
else
• The News Zealand attack showed you can’t just keep treating the
symptoms
• Have to decide what the problem is, is tech causing it, what
responsibility do we want them to have, who will be charged with
overseeing that?
• First of all we need an observatory, then an iterative process of
evolving regulation that recognises their unique nature and role
Independent Platform Agency (IPA) model
• ■ Report on trends in news and information sharing according to a methodological
framework subject to public consultation.
• ■ Report on the effectiveness of self-regulation of the largest news-carrying social and
search platforms. This should include reports on trust marks, credibility signalling,
filtering and takedown.
• ■ Mobilise and coordinate all relevant actors to ensure an inclusive and sustained
programme in media literacy for both children and adults, and conduct evaluations of
initiatives.
• ■ Report annually to Parliament on the performance of platforms’ self-regulation and
the long-term needs for possible regulatory action.
• ■ Provide reports on request to other agencies such as the Electoral Commission, Ofcom
and the Information Commissioner’s Office, to support the performance of their duties,
according to agreed criteria.
• ■ Work closely with Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority to monitor the
level of market dominance and the impact of platforms on media plurality and quality.
Tech for good? Funding of local PSM in UK
• Danger of dependency
• Questions over independence,
sustainability, selection of
grantees
• But it is a shift of resources
• Tech co’s have an interest in
making this work
• In the face of market failure
that’s a useful coincedence
No-one said it would be easy. Journalism must recognize
that the media world has changed; news has changed;
the public has changed; the world has changed – has it
changed?
Subjectivity is the new
objectivity
1. ‘Traditional’ journalism values now at a premium
2. Gatekeeper role over, traditional objectivity
inadequate
3. Understand the ’audience’ and their emotional,
personal media lives
4. Go with the human grain of social media
“The challenge for the networked
journalist is clear: how best to sustain the
ethical, social, and economic value of
journalism in this new emotionally
networked environment.”
Beckett, C and Deuze, M (2016) On the Role of
Emotion in the Future of Journalism (Social Media +
Society)
Keep in touch:
@CharlieBeckett
c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk
Director’s commentary blog:
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/

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Truth, Trust and Technology: How Can Journalism Survive The Information Crisis

  • 1. Truth, trust and technology: How can journalism survive the information crisis? Professor Charlie Beckett LSE NU lecture March 2019
  • 2. Has the world gone mad?
  • 3.
  • 4. Has the post-Enlightenment dream of an informed society turned into digital dystopia?
  • 5. Getting worse before it gets better 1. Governments, corporations, lobby groups now investing in information manipulation 2. New channels, platforms and networks will provide fresh distribution outlets for misinformation 3. Failure to address systematic problems means we treat symptoms not structural challenges
  • 6. Fake news is good news for (good) journalism
  • 7. Truth, trust and technology: rethinking the agenda
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 12. Living in a multi-truth world? • Lots of different sources – golden age of ‘choice’ • Stream of social means news is blended • News gap – people’s agenda is different to newsrooms • Increasing role of emotions and identity in consumption of news
  • 13. Improving news media credibility • Increased resources for public service news • Fact checking • Credibility signalling • Better story-telling • Transparency • Better emotional literacy from journalists
  • 14. Trust: re-thinking the relationship
  • 15. Living in a low-trust world? • Loss of trust applies to most authority, not just media or politics • Is it a bad thing? Scepticism and lack of deference are good • Cynicism and apathy and general distrust not so good • Trust is a relationship – being more truthful will help
  • 16. Improving Trust • Transparency will help: open, honest, expert • Humility: listening, seeking expertise • Accountability: interactive, open, responsive, codes • Relevance – widen the agenda • Diversity – change the newsroom, understand audiences and the wider public(s) • Change the news organisation - collaboration, crowd-sourcing, membership
  • 17. Technology: the problem with algorithms driven by the attention economy • Harm (children) • Offence • Extremism • Polarisation • Misinformation • Emotional drivers
  • 18. Technology • Tech is not neutral – it can be subject to public policy like anything else • The News Zealand attack showed you can’t just keep treating the symptoms • Have to decide what the problem is, is tech causing it, what responsibility do we want them to have, who will be charged with overseeing that? • First of all we need an observatory, then an iterative process of evolving regulation that recognises their unique nature and role
  • 19. Independent Platform Agency (IPA) model • ■ Report on trends in news and information sharing according to a methodological framework subject to public consultation. • ■ Report on the effectiveness of self-regulation of the largest news-carrying social and search platforms. This should include reports on trust marks, credibility signalling, filtering and takedown. • ■ Mobilise and coordinate all relevant actors to ensure an inclusive and sustained programme in media literacy for both children and adults, and conduct evaluations of initiatives. • ■ Report annually to Parliament on the performance of platforms’ self-regulation and the long-term needs for possible regulatory action. • ■ Provide reports on request to other agencies such as the Electoral Commission, Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, to support the performance of their duties, according to agreed criteria. • ■ Work closely with Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority to monitor the level of market dominance and the impact of platforms on media plurality and quality.
  • 20. Tech for good? Funding of local PSM in UK • Danger of dependency • Questions over independence, sustainability, selection of grantees • But it is a shift of resources • Tech co’s have an interest in making this work • In the face of market failure that’s a useful coincedence
  • 21. No-one said it would be easy. Journalism must recognize that the media world has changed; news has changed; the public has changed; the world has changed – has it changed?
  • 22. Subjectivity is the new objectivity 1. ‘Traditional’ journalism values now at a premium 2. Gatekeeper role over, traditional objectivity inadequate 3. Understand the ’audience’ and their emotional, personal media lives 4. Go with the human grain of social media
  • 23. “The challenge for the networked journalist is clear: how best to sustain the ethical, social, and economic value of journalism in this new emotionally networked environment.” Beckett, C and Deuze, M (2016) On the Role of Emotion in the Future of Journalism (Social Media + Society)
  • 24. Keep in touch: @CharlieBeckett c.h.beckett@lse.ac.uk Director’s commentary blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/

Hinweis der Redaktion

  1. What is the Commission? Purpose and funding – LSE public engagement. Commissioners – advisory, cross-sectoral