Is Fake News the Death of Journalism?
By Teddy Murphy | February 23rd, 2017
With an ever growing distrust and skepticism of the media, it seems this problem can be traced to one point. The moment the main stream media let go of journalism, and replaced it with their own opinions and looser fact-checking, that distrust gained traction. Whether it’s a news channel telling people a narrative they want to push or a newspaper skipping over source verification because the quote was just “too good not to print”, these oversights have generated a distrust of journalism.
If you go back 10 years, that’s as far as I can go because I’m only 19, I don’t recall as severe a skeptical mentality about news and media. Is it because the media and journalism went hand and hand and now it is getting to the point were they are opposites? It is a scary thing that we have to ask ourselves if members of the media have stopped being journalists. When we, the viewers and readers, let that lower level of fact based news reporting become acceptable, journalism becomes diluted. My family’s company has spent decades helping organizations discern the difference between fact and fiction.
So is journalism dying, or is some journalism passing into the more general “media” category? If you draw a Venn diagram with two circles, one circle represents journalism and a bigger circle represents media, it becomes easier to describe. From my perspective I would argue that all journalists are part of the media, but the majority of the media may no longer be journalists.
We have consumer generated media articles and user generated opinions. We have paid and owned media consuming space in the media, and even fake news taking up room in the news hole. So if the media circle is growing, does that mean the journalism circle is shrinking? Anecdotally, I would say yes. The evidence of this shrinkage can be seen through the reduced size of newspapers and growing use of syndicated content in broadcasts. Fewer dollars for journalism means fewer journalists, but that news hole has to be filled with something. Does the hollow validity of some media fill the hole once occupied by credible journalists? Maybe.
For those who are monitoring the media, and measuring the true impact of those stories, they are seeing a blurring of the lines and possibly even a reduction in the value of their earned media. Because the share of voice for a message is only as credible as the voice that is sharing it, the “desirability” of that shared message comes into play. It wouldn’t necessarily help an organization if someone counter to their mission mentioned them; an undesirable voice you might say.
As I look at Universal Information Services, and survey the emerging messaging techniques from my college peers, I see the industry of media measurement becoming more important with each news cycle. I now understand how it could take a team of media analysts to discern the true impact of a message… and that is an important task that seems to be gaining value each day.
This has been another post by Teddy Murphy. I’m keeping my eye on what’s next.
Tags: #newtools, Media Analysis, Media Measurement, Media Trends & Statistics
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