Fake news gets solved

“Yes, there will always be dark and stupid places on the internet that are just out to make a buck and that will always spread fake news. But most people won’t want to go there and great companies won’t want to play there.”

My prediction for 2017 is that the explosion of overtly “fake news” of the Macedonian-teenager variety — like that found on highly influential social media platforms such as Facebook and Google during the election this year — will become a thing of the past. In fact, by this time next year, I predict we’ll be joking about “Pope Endorses Trump” and other ditties from this year’s election on future VH1 nostalgia shows.

The reason is pretty simple: Identifying the obvious garbage isn’t that hard. And, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the major tech platforms will come to understand how much it is in their own self-interest to maintain a credible environment for their users. No responsible platform wants to become a “content swamp,” even if it means growth. The reputational risks are huge and the junk ultimately drives away the valued users.

Yes, there will always be dark and stupid places on the internet that are just out to make a buck and that will always spread fake news. But most people won’t want to go there and great companies won’t want to play there, and at least we can work to keep it out of mainstream platforms.

I am also going to be optimistic and say that, once fake news is eradicated from news feeds, many people will rediscover their appreciation for actual facts and reasoned debate. I think this last election shows what can happen when we give into our basest instincts and consume only what we agree with instead of including what is true or important. People are going to get sick of misinformation and a large number of them will find their way back to credible news and educated people talking to each other about genuine issues and hard choices.

(Full confession: I have a personal bias against any discussion where the answer is described as “easy,” “obvious,” or “the only way” — and I give major credit to anyone who is willing to acknowledge real, painful downsides to their preferred position. That tends to be deeply lacking in every segment of the political spectrum.)

It’s not surprising to me that some newspapers have seen bumps in their subscriptions since the election; people crave the high-quality, impartial reporting of quality journalism shops. Reasoned discussion may currently be the weird and radical option in our current political environment, but I feel the tides beginning to turn.

David Chavern is president and CEO of the News Media Alliance (formerly the Newspaper Association of America).

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Trushar Barot   API or die

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Mario Garcia   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities