You hear a lot of heated claims and baseless generalities these days about what’s wrong with the news media. What’s seldom heard is what the underlying data indicate about true problem areas and where journalists need to improve.
As a journalist and a media academic, I have always assumed that I’m a fairly savvy media consumer. I know when something is genuine, and when what I’m looking at misinformation, disinformation and propaganda.
Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world. Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections.
A recent study from Ohio State University communications scholars found that news stories connecting climate change to natural disasters actually backfire among skeptics.
Public trust in media continues to hover near all-time lows, driven by perceptions that the news industry is partisan and peddles inaccurate information (“fake news”), as well as ambivalence about news from social media. According to a new Knight Foundation report on news media trust, transparency is a key factor in restoring trust.