Fighting fire with fire

As Prenger and Deuze state in their 2016 article, public trust in the press as an institution has greatly diminished (pp. 12-13). This distrust¬†seems to have been growing even more in recent years. While there is no doubt that countless other factors are at work here, an important catalyst for the current dwindling of public confidence in the media as a whole is obviously the birth of ‘fake news’.

The mere existence of ‘fake news’ is what makes audiences anxious and creates in them a feeling of having to approach every medium with suspicion. At least that’s how I feel. For every story could be fabricated, and any ‘fact’ could be ‘alternative’.

In the same article, Prenger and Deuze identify a specific mechanism when describing the history of television journalism. They show how certain innovations in television journalism spread across the globe, while being copied and rearticulated in every other part of the world (p. 5).

I hope the same goes for online journalism, as digital innovations could aid journalists in the battle against untrustworthiness. For example, a startup company founded by Dutch journalists and researchers made an app that helps audiences to resist and debunk ‘fake news’, in order to (hopefully) counter it completely in the future.

I’m pretty optimistic about what the future will bring when it comes to online innovations. More innovative online startups arise everyday, because of a climate that Prenger and Deuze describe as a central feature of the modern fragmented media landscape. This climate provides room for specialized niche media, often in the form of online startups (p. 13). Hopefully this will lead to more ‘anti-fake news’ initiatives and innovations alike, for the sake of the future of journalism.

Victor Berndsen

References

Deuze, M., & Prenger, M. (2016). The structural history and theory of innovation and entrepreneurialism in journalism. In Boczkowski, P.J., & Anderson, W.C., (2017) Remaking the News. London: MIT Press.

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