There is already too much information - the challenge is verify it

date
Mar 20, 2014
slug
2014-there-is-too-much-information-the-challenge-now-is-validate-it
status
Published
tags
information
journalism
social media
validation
summary
The amount of information available is thousand times greater than what we can use, but the amount of verified information is not nearly enough.
type
Post
Every day, a billion posts are uploaded to Facebook; 400 million tweets are posted on Twitter and, per month, Wordpress alone publishes about 40 million new articles. We are not reaching saturation now - we have long since surpassed it, but these numbers are only set to increase. Therefore, news companies that do not want to end up stuffed in natural history museums must shift their focus. It is not necessary to create more new information, but rather validate the absurdly large feeds that already exist.
One of the biggest problems in journalism today is trying to answer new questions with old answers. The result is a frustrating and, on certain occasions, depressing picture of companies and professionals rowing against the tide to try to save their domains in a continent doomed to disappear in the tsunami of information. The fight is, besides being inglorious, not very intelligent.
Embracing social media is no longer an option. In truth, it is also not comfortable nor does it stop carrying a huge question mark about the quality of the information that democratic societies need. But the alternative is a road to limbo where big names in newspapers and magazines will molder until they finally wither away.
At SXSW 2014, held in Austin, one of the debates was about how the journalism of the future is intimately connected to three trends - social, mobile devices and big data. The discussion did not bring any bombastic conclusion - quite the opposite. The most important journalists and opinion makers in the world like Eli Pariser and Glenn Greenwald point to a future in which digital information veins are the core of journalism and its appendix. Curation, analysis and discovery are functions that will still be performed by journalists by vocation, and not by professionals who hold the market by academic training.
All the tools are already available for this scenario that is confirming itself - except one: validation. Just as 20th century journalism depended on the coverage of news agencies and companies with a reputation like the BBC, the 21st century will be forcibly pushed to work with data generated by eyewitnesses to history in real time. There is no longer time to send a correspondent to a remote location - it is necessary to embrace the sources that are already there to discover what is happening.
In this process, the missing link is validation. The way we cross information from different sources will allow unknown content generators to guarantee a safe ground for publication to large audiences. This is because large audiences trust more in established names when breaking news occurs. But this trust is being undermined by the impact of the flood of information from other sources. These processes of checking this "raw" information are the axis on which this new journalism needs to be developed. The path is full of challenges and traps, the number of which is only surpassed by the number of opportunities.

© Cassiano Gobbet 2023 - 2024