HOW TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTED TRUTH: PART 4

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

 

Recently, the British newspaper The Guardian ran a long story on the impact technology is having on our perception of truth.

It was a thoughtful, informative piece that pointed out how social media are not only disrupting but corrupting journalistic integrity and honesty world-wide. We are seeing that happen in the United States with an unrestricted and uninhibited social media brimming with fabrications, smears, deceptions, and outright lies. Regrettably, those stories are posted and forwarded to millions of people as “truth.”

The story was reported and written by Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media. Because it was such a long story, I am running it on my blog in five parts. I have opted to leave British spelling and style intact.

Here is Part 4.

Chasing down every cheap click

 By Katherine Viner

A news-publishing industry desperately chasing down every cheap click doesn’t sound like an industry in a position of strength, and indeed, news publishing as a business is in trouble.

The shift to digital publishing has been a thrilling development for journalism – as I said in my 2013 AN Smith lecture at the University of Melbourne, “The Rise of the Reader”, it has induced “a fundamental redrawing of journalists’ relationship with our audience, how we think about our readers, our perception of our role in society, our status”.

It has meant we have found new ways to get stories – from our audience, from data, from social media. It has given us new ways to tell stories – with interactive technologies and now with virtual reality. It has given us new ways to distribute our journalism, to find new readers in surprising places; and it has given us new ways to engage with our audiences, opening ourselves up to challenge and debate.

But