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.
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.