The year journalism teaches again

“In telling stories, in exposing lies, we should be teaching the public how to evaluate what they read.”

It may be that the end of 2016 and perhaps 2017 has been about the fact. It’s been about how fact-checking has again arisen from the ashes as the political state in the United States and across the world enters a new stage. With the election of Trump, we’ve seen the realization that fake news is here, and may be here for a bit. It’s nothing new, of course, but it’s having its heyday.

p-kim-buiMedia analysis is the natural enemy of the fake. Debunking educates people about what is wrong and what is fake, but news literacy and analysis is what teaches them to evaluate for themselves. This is a part of any journalist’s job: In telling stories, in exposing lies, we should be teaching the public how to evaluate what they read.

Do you remember having to clip a story out of the newspaper in grade school and evaluate it? I fear that isn’t being done anymore. Students rely on places like Wikipedia and “the internet” as a place of truths without ever being taught how to ask questions of what they read.

If you mother tells you she loves you, check it out. It’s what we’re taught early on as journalists, but we now need to pass the lesson on to everyone else. When we find falsehoods, we definitely need to proclaim them as fake and present the facts — but the responsibility is also on us to show how we got there.

A few years ago, as part of an ONA program, I met a young man who had posted about the Boston marathon bombing and became a teacher to his family. News was too slow, he said, and Twitter had so many lies, so on his Facebook feed, he began posting how he came to conclusions about what was happening. His family and friends asked him to show them the process so they could do it themselves. He did so for days.

I often think back to him and wonder: Why weren’t we doing that? Why did he have to become the teacher when any journalist could have shown his family that? Was journalism missing an opportunity to help communities?

It’s time. It’s time for newspapers to go back into grade schools and teach children. It’s time for us to write, step by step, how we debunked something, not just pass it off and go find the real story. The fake news often is the real story. At reported.ly, our content debunking and walking people through fake and incorrect news was among our most popular. We aren’t special — we just illuminated the path.

So illuminate the paths in your city, on your beat, in your newsroom, and maybe media analysis will take hold again.

P. Kim Bui was deputy managing editor of reported.ly.

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

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

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

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

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

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

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Mario Garcia   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

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

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

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

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

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

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

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

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Trushar Barot   API or die

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

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

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present