Innovation in 2017

Does Anybody Care About the Facts?

As fake news continues to encircle the media, the future of journalism depends on returning to the essence of reporting the facts.

The 2016 US presidential election changed the way the news media was portrayed globally, and the notion for a more ‘administrative’ form of reporting could be the answer journalism needs.

Juliet De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel argue in their piece for the Nieman’s Lab 2017 Predictions for Journalism,  that a form of populist journalism will resurface in the coming year.

Whilst it was not the case that excellent journalism did not exist throughout the US election, the public interest in this information however did not- and an emphasis on data, statistics, and visual information could be the catalyst for a more reliable understanding of current world and political events.

Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, gave journalists a D for their reporting during the campaign period, crediting the political discourse at this time as evidence of the journalistic failures.

As believed by De Maeyer and Trudel, populist journalism that remains ‘fiercely adversarial but never personalised’ will be a deciphering tool between the paradox of fact and fiction that exists in digital journalism today.

As journalism relies more and more on digital technology to reach most consumers, managing the overflow of information becomes vital. Visual journalism expert Alberto Cairo reasons that better communication of data is essential, particularly the communication of uncertainty.

His view of the last US election describes the journalism of that time as ‘undeservedly precise’; the statistics seen in news media about Trump and Clinton were often misleading, evident in the shock that was widely felt on the 8th of November 2016.

Following Donald Trump’s election success and his war on the ‘fake news’ media, a Google Trends graph shows the amount of people searching for fake news rose drastically and remained steady into 2017.

Cairo’s suggestion for journalists to adopt real life frequencies (eg: 1 out of 5 chance rather than %) would place news events into perspective for the public and ensure that information is received accurately.

About the author

Valentina Sophia Griesheimer