Improve storytelling – for a more accurate, well-crafted journalism
By Michael Golden, President of WAN-IFRA
The news industry is facing remarkable opportunities and equally remarkable challenges. We have the largest audiences in our history. The ability to tell compelling stories with images, video, data and remarkable graphics is a marvel. Our journalism is more compelling and more in demand than ever.
However, the remarkable tools given to us by computing power and electronic delivery are also available to organizations and people who use them to present lies, to distort the truth and to sow confusion. Sadly, some sovereign governments use these tools to undermine democracies.
It has become a challenge for our readers and viewers to be able to tell honest, researched journalism from invented falsehoods. That is a detrimental to good government and an informed citizenry.
The fundamental mission of our industry is to inform people with accurate, well-crafted journalism. We are now required to work equally hard to ensure our audiences appreciate and recognize journalism versus lies and misinformation. We can do that along two principals tracks: first, reinforce the value of our journalism and the value of our brands that present the journalism, and second, hold the companies which are being used to spread misinformation to account, just as we hold governments to account.
There are examples of how we reinforce the value of our journalism and our brands coming from companies across the globe that have launched brand building campaigns identifying great journalism and reinforcing the importance of presenting the truth. For hundreds of years trusted brands have been critical to consumers in making important decisions in their lives. It has rarely been as important as it is today for us to reinforce the value of our brands.
To hold companies responsible for how they disseminate information, as well as when they disseminate misinformation, we use our journalism and we must also use our professional associations like WAN-IFRA. Our journalism has the primary focus of informing readers and viewers of how facts as well as lies are being presented to them. Our associations have an important role in also informing advertisers, regulators and governments of the harm being done their customers and constituents. The board and management of WAN-IFRA are committed to playing this important role in support of our membership.
Finally, we must continue to share our best practices of how we improve our storytelling and how we address the fundamental business challenges of publishing in a digital world. IFRA Expo is another great opportunity to share and to learn. That benefits us all. I hope to see you at the conference.
President WAN-IFRA, The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers