Can today’s newsrooms develop successful strategies to manage challenges in the news industry in productive and sustainable ways? How are they countering threats associated with the digital era of the ‘information disorder’, which is defined as ‘the combination of misinformation, disinformation, and information shared with malicious intent’?
These are just some of the questions answered by the Reuters Institute, presenting three success stories, on how digital-born news organizations in the Global South (Rappler in the Philippines, Daily Maverick in South Africa, and The Quint in India) have developed innovative reporting and storytelling practices to fight disinformation, based on a combination of investigative journalism, fact-checking, data and social network analysis, and strategic collaboration with audiences and platforms.
Here are their nine journalism innovation lessons learned, that can potentially apply to any news organization:
- A clear mission helps journalists adapt more quickly and independently to new circumstances
- ‘Mission-driven journalism may divide audiences, but is not the same as partisanship’. For example, Marianne Thamm, senior investigative reporter at Daily Maverick, described that she balances democratic advocacy and human rights activism with fair, independent reporting: ‘I think people know when a story has an agenda – propaganda is visible for miles off. I don’t write from a particular political perspective…And also, I ask questions – what does this mean if this happened and that happened?’
- The ability to ‘pivot’ with speed and determination in response to a disinformation crisis, is considered to be an ‘innovation marker’
- Community building is a key strategic element for fact-checking efforts: audiences can be part of journalism innovation. When it comes to disinformation, an audience can be seen as a news organization’s eyes and ears, some sort of an ‘early warning system’
- Covering disinformation can fuel organizational innovation within a newsroom, empowering new forms of news reporting and storytelling
- Innovation requires investment in new skills, advanced fact-checking tools, digital verification techniques, big data journalism, network analysis, and constant training to combat disinformation
- Innovation can be based on core company values and traditional mindsets, but also requires a constant re-examination of whether a more fundamental shift is necessary
- Training, learning, and knowledge transfer are critical to ensure that fast-growing newsrooms have the capacity to deal with disinformation.
- It is possible if having a clear mission, to do innovative journalism for a large audience, even where resources are limited
Given the fact that more and more newsrooms are turning to digital tools to secure their communications and fact-check information, it is inspiring to see news organizations developing new capacities and skills to fight disinformation. What is also of paramount importance is that these organizations shared these skills across their newsroom, differentiated themselves from their competitors, and potentially have increased their long-term sustainability.
- The great infodemic: time to consider a fake news tax | Bruegel
- Big Brands Pull Ads As YouTube Battles Conspiracy And Misinformation Videos | The Drum
- Vodafone blocks ads from appearing on sites that promote hate speech or fake news (marketingweek.com)
- Ogilvy Will No Longer Work With Influencers Who Edit Their Bodies Or Faces For Ads | The Drum