Back to basics with slow news
Social media has done amazing things for thousands of people. It enabled us to reach further than ever. It enabled us to sell our products, to let the world know what we think, to find peers, and so on. It also enabled news to travel faster. However the speed of travelling doesn’t guarantee the quality of the content. Therefore we see lots of fake news around the globe. The latest example is the “mistake” that Fox News did, when reporting the nationality of the assailant of a terror attack in Canada. According to the Guardian “The office of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has forced Fox News to apologize and retract a ‘false and misleading’ tweet that inaccurately described the suspect in the Québec City mosque shooting as a man of Moroccan origin.”
Sometimes these kinds of “mistakes” are really errors made by not so well-informed reporters, but sometimes they are done deliberately to support an ideology. This results in facts to be altered or as Donald Trump’s advisor put it, in the creation of “alternative facts,” which is very harmful for the news industry. That’s why the BBC, one of the pillars of broadcasting, is taking measures to prevent fake news from spreading with the slow news approach. It is not the speed but the truth that really matters, they say. I completely agree; our fascination with speed is taking the whole broadcasting industry down. It is time to reverse this trend.
According to online publication Digiday, BBC is taking a stronger stance on fighting the online spread of misinformation, by launching a dedicated lie-debunking unit at the heart of its newsroom.
Currently, half a dozen people have been assigned to the team, and plans are afoot to double that, according to BBC News’ editorial director James Angus. The new team’s set-up involves picking stories that aren’t verified or are masquerading as real news, and create in-depth text articles and videos, published under the Reality Check sub-brand, which was introduced by the BBC during the EU Referendum when Brexit-spooked readership’s faith in facts was tanking.
Prioritizing what to focus editorial resources on has gradually been changing the BBC newsroom’s workflow dynamics, according to Angus. Determining which mistruths the investigative team will focus on debunking is now front and center at the morning news meeting discussions, where it wouldn’t have been a year ago.
I don’t know if BBC can see it through, many people say the BBC is also biased, but at least they are trying.
Turkish publications and broadcasters should also try to focus their attention toward enhancing the quality of reporting rather than trying to be the first to publish a story as news.