For social media and search engines, the law is back in town. Prompted by privacy invasions, the spread of misinformation, a crisis in news funding and potential interference in elections, regulators in several countries now propose a range of interventions to curb the power of digital platforms.
This article will be no help whatsoever to Britain’s crumbling local newspaper industry. After 12 years researching the provincial press at its peak period, the second half of the 19th century, I have no answers for today’s business in crisis. In 2018, the fourth largest regional newspaper group in Britain, Johnston Press, recently went bust (and was then “rescued” by a US asset fund). A quarter of the country’s local papers have closed in the last ten years. Jobs have been cut, print sales tumble, and profits dwindle (although many local papers still make money). Fewer reporters staffing local papers mean fewer original stories, which makes the papers less attractive to readers, which accelerates the decline. The industry itself blames internet advertising, and competition from Facebook and Google. Others blame local newspaper management, not known for its dynamism or strategic ...
The federal government’s recent announcement of financial support for news organizations has been met with understandably wide-ranging reactions — from relief to skepticism, and worse. Among other measures, the package will incentivize consumers to sign up for digital news subscriptions and subsidize publishers through a tax credit on salaries paid to journalists. It’s good news for imperilled news businesses, but even some who share the government’s expressed concern over the sustainability of independent information about public affairs have expressed misgivings. The doubters include many journalists — the very people who stand most to gain from the promised support.
The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable. Access to information also empowers citizens by informing their voting, giving them a chance to speak out against injustice and ensuring they know their rights. In Mexico, when communities denied healthcare and education learnt that they had a right to these services they fought to access them. The value of access to information is recognised around the world and there are many countries where, both on paper and in practice, the right to information is a reality. Nearly 120 countries have laws to enable it, however this doesn’t necessarily mean that citizens can get important government data in all of these countries.
There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from falling for a hoax. As the author of the upcoming book “Fake Photos,” to be published in August, I’d like to offer a few tips to protect yourself from falling for a hoax.
A common practice in American journalism has, once again, sparked outrage. CNN recently announced the hiring of Sarah Isgur Flores to be “one of several editors” who will help “coordinate [political] coverage across TV and digital.
There has rightly been plenty of condemnation for the arrest of journalist Maria Ressa in the Philippines on February 13. Her news organisation, Rappler – which has been critical of the government – has been targeted and maligned for at least a year by an authoritarian but sensitive regime up to its neck in human rights violations.
Seven MPs leaving the Labour party was always going to dominate the news cycle but, given that the UK currently stands to exit the EU without a deal, political journalists should be wary about getting sucked into ongoing speculation about further resignations and instead focus on the rapidly approaching cliff edge.
Recent research from the US shows that baby boomers or people over 65 years old with conservative political views are more likely than other age groups to share fake news through social media. Not in Indonesia. Our research, which we presented at the Asian Network for Public Opinion Research (ANPOR) annual conference in November 2018, proves otherwise. We surveyed 480 respondents from all cities and districts in West Java, Indonesia’s most populated province, to examine factors triggering people’s tendency to share fake news.
Journalism is in the midst of an existential crisis: the profession has undergone decades of declines in readership, revenue and public trust, with no obvious end in sight. Many in the industry believe that the best way for newsrooms to recover both revenue and public trust is to improve their relationship with their audiences. News organizations once boasted huge profit margins, which left many feeling confident that they knew exactly what they needed to do in order to reach the public. As a result, journalists rarely sought feedback from their readers.