Priority: restoring journalism's credibility
Jun 1, 2012
Restoring Journalism's Credibility: The Need for Truth Goggles and Credibility Hubs in the Digital Age
Never in the history of this planet (to semi-paraphrase our former president) have we been subjected to so much information. This exacerbates an old problem, which is to believe almost everything that is read. An idea of an American journalist, the Truth Goggles, is a pioneering initiative (although still in the embryonic stage) for a vital point in the recovery of journalism's role in society: the reestablishment of its credibility.
In a post published on Media Labs, Dan Schulz explains his idea. It is a script that, through a series of links, aims to provide the reader/internet user with a background on the veracity of a certain piece of information. For example: a corrupt mayor claims in an interview that he has reduced crime by 20%. Through news checkers like NewsTrust and Politifact, the tool would verify whether this is true or not.
Reading Schulz's post on his own blog, he himself admits that the tool is still far from being usable for a number of operational reasons, but this point matters less than the awareness that a considerable group of journalists are talking about the need to rethink the means of collecting and disseminating information, as well as the creation of credibility hubs among them. Amidst a slightly more critical audience, there is a correct feeling that most organizations are biased when it comes to reporting (and the most dangerous, almost never do this openly, as for example in the case of the American newspaper Boston Globe, which openly supported a Republican candidate). It is almost impossible to know today whether what we are reading is true or if it is a planted story (like apparently this one, about Milan's interest in a Botafogo player without a contract).
A question raised here: but hasn't this always happened? Hasn't it always been difficult to find out if what they were saying is true or not? Yes, it always has been. Schulz recalls that in 1938 a radio broadcast convinced many people that the world was being invaded by aliens. But the dynamism of digital media has made the fortune of a large part of the press that lives to create factoids. Today, for a lie to become truth is much easier and tools like the one Schulz proposes become fundamental, even though many other points are necessary. It is not about reinventing the wheel. Journalism continues to be what its essence has always demanded. It is only about the recovery of this essence.