The Fake News Piñata

Since the US Elections we’ve read a lot about the topic of fake news and how journalism must adapt to ‘regain’ credibility and trust. I’m sure the debate will go on for some time, but in the meantime I thought it might be useful to gather all the different opinions I’ve read over recent weeks in one place. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Fake News Piñata!

From what I can see, this very special piñata is basically spit into three segments – publishers, platforms and people. I apologies in advance for the crude nature of what follows, this list is by no means exhaustive and I’m pretty certain to have over-simplified in places. But for now…

Publishers

  • We need to fight fake news with facts.
  • We need to fight fake news with facts that are shareable.
  • We need to fight fake news with facts, opinion and razor-sharp attention to the language we use.
  • Facts don’t matter because audiences don’t ‘care’ – because they’ve been told journalists are experts and experts are not to be trusted. Journalists need to work harder to communicate the benefits of what they do.
  • Facts don’t matter because audiences have been told journalists are biased (whereas politicians are not). Journalists need to work harder to communicate the benefits of what they do.
  • “Facts get shared, opinions get shrugs.” Alt-right institutions get more attention online now because their stories appear to be more fact-based than rant-based. They have the semblance of truth. Journalism needs to address this development through fact-checking services/teams to understand why fake news stories have become so shareable beyond outrageous headlines.
  • In the fight for ‘truthfulness’ publishers and journalists need to accept that they too make mistakes. Which is more damaging? A fake news story with a low audience or a slightly incorrect mainstream media story with a huge audience?
  • 99% of all journalism is commercially funded. Go figure, we are all doomed.
  • Are non-profit journalist organisations more truthful?
  • Has the ‘pandering’ to Facebook (shareability over ‘substance’) backed us into a corner? Do we need to focus on new metrics of engagement which recognises quality journalism and can be monetised easily. Is this just a pipe dream or the start of a long journey of collaboration across the entire media sector?
  • As an industry we should stop theorising, navel-gazing and soul-searching and get down to proper journalism i.e holding those in power to account and getting out there into the local communities.
  • Hmm. We might need to invest more in local journalism…
  • Er, what exactly is Fake News? “Does a falsehood only become “fake news” when it shows up on a platform like Facebook as legitimate news?”

Platforms

People

  • Most people have a low level of media literacy. Blame lack of education and poverty.
  • Most people have a low level of media literacy. Blame the government.
  • Most people have a low level of media literacy. Blame the media.
  • Most people have a low level of media literacy. Blame technology.
  • Most people have a low level of media literacy. Blame procrastination.
  • People lack the critical capacity to recognise what might be fake because they actively seek reflections of themselves. Confirmation bias.
  • Facts don’t matter because we’re all basically selfish and can’t escape our prejudices.

I’ll leave it there for now, please feel free to add further points via the comments below. For those interested in what the journalist/tech community is doing right now to navigate this new landscape, may I suggest this excellent, collaborate resource initially recommended by Jeff Jarvis.

Further Reading
Washington Post fake news story blurs the definition of fake news
Google, democracy and the truth about internet search
The tech/editorial culture clash
The Man Who Made Radio Viral
Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check
Trump has already defeated the news media. And it’s unclear what we can do about it.
Publishing in the post-truth era
Parallel narratives
FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE MAKE LIES AS PRETTY AS TRUTH
The Cynical Gambit to Make ‘Fake News’ Meaningless
Why Snapchat And Apple Don’t Have A Fake News Problem

The Capital Jingle Bell Ball 2016 Content Strategy. Includes Kittens.

Capital Jingle Bell Ball 2016 Kittens

Every year we host Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball at London’s O2 – a fantastic weekend of music where fans can celebrate the best artists and tracks of the year in an amazing venue. Covering an event like this is a true privilege as it’s a great chance to meet fans, find out what they’re listening to and learn about what’s important to them.

What’s also important is that we took the decision years ago to make the Jingle Bell Ball a true digital experience. That means, that wherever you are in the UK, if not the world, you’ll be able to experience the event as if you were at the O2 itself.

That doesn’t mean ‘just’ filming the artists on stage and conducting behind the scenes interviews* – it means thinking very carefully about what platforms our digital audience are currently on and delivering formats that excite, engage and get them coming back for more.

And that means cats. Lots of them.

Here’s a short overview of what you can expect from our digital coverage in the next 48 hours:

  • Radio coverage (naturally) across FM and digital
  • Capital TV dedicated coverage
  • Highlights of the best on stage performances and back stage interviews (video on demand)
  • Exclusive Facebook Live interviews with all the artists (and kittens)
  • Live blog coverage – a great single location to see all the action as it happens
  • Snapchat coverage incl. exclusive Snapchat filters
  • Live Instagram Video stories
  • Dedicated content for social media – we believe with a passion that we should be entertaining you in your space, so our social media team will be creating the funniest and informative memes and updates they can.

So what’s the best thing about all this coverage? The fact that it’s all happening live – with all sections of the business (radio, tv, digital, marketing, pr, events, commercial) working together to make sure this is the best experience possible for YOU.

So here goes. Another fantastic Jingle Bell Ball is about to happen. I’ll post some highlights when I can!

*I say ‘just’ but shooting, editing and distributing video is a massive part of our operation. Adding this now before the Head of Video decapitates me.

WANTED: Meme Overlord required

That’s right. I’m looking for a social media editor to join our fabulous PopBuzz and We The Unicorns team. Working from our London office, you’ll be mixing with some top talent driving new audience to our brand new brands.

I’m not going to mention to much about the role, only, if you visit our Facebook pages, you will immediately understand why we’ve been successful and be able to send me a short analysis as part of your application.

To apply, please email info@pop-buzz.com. Oh, and we’re looking for someone to start immediately (although we will wait for the right person of course…)

Thanks
steve

 

 

Engaging with Millennials: Westminster Media Forum Highlights

Engaging Millennials Forum

I recently attended the Westminster Media Forum in London and spoke about how we’re engaging younger audiences through Capital FM, PopBuzz and We The Unicorns. I only had ten minutes so it was quite a speedy tour, but here were my notes from the other excellent speakers that presented. Continue reading

Echo Chambers and Emojis: My Notes from Web Summit 2016

content strategy at web summit 2016

Each year, Web Summit attracts digital enthusiasts from around the world, seeking networking opportunities and juicy thought-leader presentations. This year, however, there seemed to be very little of that, from a content maker perspective at least. The 2016 event in Lisbon was heavy over-subscribed (50,000 attendees was the number quoted) and there was a change in style from previous summits – relaxed sofa ‘chats’ with speakers over detailed analysis. When there was a formal presentation you heard yourself muttering ‘thank god for Power Point’ which is, as you all know, a hideous crime.

Continue reading

What Now for Journalism?

content strategy and filter bubbles

Some hastily scribbled thoughts following the recent US elections. What do US journalists (and perhaps all of us) need to do going forward?

  • Don’t get too hung up on this whole echo chamber/filter bubble analogy. Although its been important to acknowledge the narcissistic nature of social media, we now need to be careful that these kind of convenient and simplistic metaphors don’t obscure the good work journalists are doing every day to ‘break on through’. When you start talking about people being ‘trapped’ in their own ‘bubbles’ it starts to sound like ‘What’s the use?’ We need to engage, listen and speak a language that the majority understand.
  • Take as a given that advocacy ‘journalism’ websites is only going to get bigger and bolder. They will continue to attack academia and mainstream media for being elitist/disconnected from the populace/ordinary man/forgotten man.
  • The answer? Become excellent, amazing journalists. Let’s get better every day at what we do.
  • Let’s take another look at local news where investment has slipped.
  • Help Facebook become the responsible publisher it needs to be.
  • Challenge the notion that free news probably isn’t worth reading. Don’t hide the truth behind a wall.
  • Find news ways of funding good journalism – like getting Google of Facebook to pay for it.
  • Work with UX/Design to create experiences that facilitate comfortable reading of complex issues.
  • Reject the notion readers are only interested in surface skimming over depth.
  • Fight the titillation of fake news with well-researched, annoying details.
  • Listen more, comment less.