Blog post

Why did quality media lose trust?

20 Jan 2017

Why did quality media lose peoples trust? Why is a big part of the audience listening more to lies and accusations than to well curated and fact based journalism?

At a lecture given to a visiting group of leading Danish reporters and editors at LSE professor Charlie Beckett elaborated on the ethical and emotional element of online news consumption. Journalism content now gets blended into people’s personal life in new ways.

At the same time people are sharing stories not only for the information but also for the emotions and to signal their own values. In that case, it’s not adequate for journalists only to focus on the facts or content of the journalism. They must also rely on deep insight in the users evolving behavior and motives.

Beckett’s angle seems crucial to understand the current media world – and not only in the countries of Brexit and Trump. I am from Denmark where the news media are decreasingly being read or seen in their own well defined domain. Instead they mix through social media into a much more personal space surrounded by conversations with family, peers and (usually) likeminded friends.

This has a wide range of far reaching consequences. It’s not only closely connected to broken business models on print as well as in digital. It’s has also proven to play an important part of Western countries increasing problems with having a constructive democratic debate.

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