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).

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

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

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

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

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

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

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

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

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Trushar Barot   API or die

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

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

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

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

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states