HOW TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTED TRUTH: PART 5

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 5.

Traditional news values are important

 By Katherine Viner

The truth is a struggle. It takes hard graft. But the struggle is worth it: traditional news values are important, and they matter, and they are worth defending. The digital revolution has meant that journalists – rightly, in my view – are more accountable to their audience. And as the Hillsborough story shows, the old media were certainly capable of perpetrating appalling falsehoods, which could take years to unravel.

Some of the old hierarchies have been decisively undermined, which has led to a more open debate and a more substantial challenge to the old elites whose interests often dominated the media. But the age of relentless and instant information – and uncertain truths – can be overwhelming. We careen from outrage to outrage, but forget each one very quickly: it’s doomsday every afternoon.

The challenge for journalism today is to establish what role journalistic organisations still play in public discourse

At the same time, the levelling of the information landscape has unleashed new torrents