Fake News Discussion Takes Center Stage at Collision

Well into the second day of Collision Conference, leaders in American media gathered to discuss challenges and how society can strike a balance between ethics and objectivity in the digital knowledge economy.

Ana Kasparian, host of The Young Turks, moderated the fake news and media literacy panel that included John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief at The Daily Beast, and Jared Grusd, CEO of HuffPost.

Kasparian kicked off the session by saying that we can’t escape the topic of fake news. So, what exactly is fake news? Avlon described it as fundamentally false stories that are written with the intent to deceive.

Publications, platforms and individuals need to be aware of their role in media and content consumption in the digital age, especially with the rise of social media. Grusd said one of the greatest things about Twitter and social media in general is how easy it is to publish content. “It’s never been more accessible to consume content.”

With people reading more news than ever before, the panelists shared tips on how individuals and organizations can help combat fake news:

Be transparent

Over the course of a career, a writer is bound to make a mistake, but it’s important for a publication and its writers to be transparent, shared Grusd. “Of course people get stuff wrong…but then it’s up to the writer and the news organization to correct that.”

Don’t give up on hard news

Avlon admitted there is a lot of negativity surrounding hard news, such as politics or tumultuous world events. If writers stay away from sharing facts about important issues, publications will likely to shift coverage to entertainment and other less hard-hitting news, therefore playing it safe and doing a disservice to readers.

Solidify your brand

HuffPost and other major news organizations are making deep investments in developing the core of their brands, shared Grusd. They are asking questions such as: Who are we? Why do we matter? What role do we want to play in society? Solidifying a media brand helps companies determine if they are an entity that people want to get behind and support.

Do your part

Kasparian had a good suggestion for dealing with friends and acquaintances sharing fake news. Rather than confronting a person for doing so, provide them another, more credible source to read and share instead. “We’re all responsible for fighting back and pushing back.”

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