This is an outstanding must-read article by Katherine Viner, published in the Guardian. She claims that social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But, she warns that the consequences go far beyond journalism.
The article is fairly long and a little rambling for me but I endorse the prevailing thread. It highlights the damage of post-truth politics and perhaps more importantly ‘post-truth journalism’.
I have a few views of my own on this subject.
Journalists who chase stories for clicks or headlines deserve to lose out to social media. They are the lemmings or dinosaurs and they will disappear.
There is still a place for quality journalism and brand integrity in newspapers. Newspapers where highly paid editors doctor headlines to satisfy the whims of owners or special interest groups deserve to fall by the wayside too. Sadly, the BBC is well known for editorial spin – it’s time for the BBC to compete and lose its subsidy.
Brexit provides a case study in which a large number of UK newspapers supported Brexit and ignored the evidence of experts. This clearly influenced public opinion and possibly swung the vote in favor of Brexit. After the vote, many of these same newspapers turned on the Brexit leaders, namely Farage, Johnson, Gove and Leadsom. Surely, these newspapers had quality journalists who could write about the absence of post-Brexit planning before the vote? Either the journalists were collectively naive or their editors held a very firm reign on the news?
As a regular blogger, I pride myself on balanced views supported by evidence. For me, the truth still matters. But I’m increasingly wary of big-brand publishers who have embraced ‘post-truth journalism’ – this is the breeding ground for the far-left and the far-right.
I fear that more journalists and newspapers need to leave the industry, so that truth can be regained.
Don’t blame technology, blame egocentric journalists and their editors.