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How publishers can recognize and avert manipulation

Creating trust in media

Posted on Tuesday, 03 October 2017. Posted in Publishing, Digital Print, Events . Written by IPP Desk

Creating trust in media

Publishers, newspaper producers and media operators will meet at the IFRA World Publishing Expo and DCX Digital Content Expo from 10 to 12 October in Berlin. One topic that is destined to feature prominently in this year's worldwide meeting of the publishing community is: How can content producers better manage fake news, manipulation and hate comments, especially in social media?

In Berlin, some two weeks after the election of the German federal parliament, from which the right-wing populist party 'Alternative für Deutschland' emerged as the country's third most powerful political force, media makers from all over the world will tackle the problem of mistrust of the media. This concerns not just the politically explosive impact of manipulated news in social media, but also the future of the news industry.

Jeff Jarvis, the American author of the book What Would Google Do? and professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, will be one of the main speakers at the dual event (12 October, 12.30 p.m.). “The real problem we are facing is not a commodity called fake news. It is human behavior – manipulation of media and the public conversation aimed at destroying trust in institutions and in each other. If journalism wants to rebuild public trust it's journalism that needs to change its relationship with the communities we serve,” says Jarvis in the intro to his paper 'Dont' Be Trump's Chumps.' In Berlin, the Buzzmachine.com and medium.com/@jeffjarvis blogger will present his proposals, ranging from a greater awareness for untruths and the correct degree of attention for manipulators, up to more transparency and willingness to change on the part of the media.

Go for more digital empathy
Richard Gutjahr, also a keynote speaker (12 October, 12 p.m.), will focus on how media can regain people's trust. “If we want to fix the future, we must analyze carefully where we went wrong in the past. No longer should we blame technology, Google or Facebook,” says the award-winning freelance journalist (who has worked for, among others, ARD, WDR aktuell, BR-Rundschau, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Rheinische Post and Tagesspiegel). There is a lack of digital empathy—'To learn this, we have to get our hands dirty, descend to the digital spheres of the forums and comment columns, seek discussions, even though it frequently hurts,' Gutjahr writes in his blog.

Completing the keynote session on this topic is the Russian-American media analyst and vice president of the Russian Publishers Guild, Vasily Gatov (12 October, 11.30 p.m.). “Today, fake, manipulated and opinionated news capture audiences and delude mass media social standing, becoming a sort of information weapon,” says the visiting fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism of the University of Southern California. In the light of this situation, Gatov, who has worked for many Russian media operations (e.g., Ren TV Network, Media3 and news agency RIA Novosti), will describe new tasks that are at present emerging for quality journalism.

Check facts and retain brands in social media
How can news providers present themselves as credible brands in social media? How can media makers and readers distinguish between genuine and fake news? And how can algorithms as well as new platforms and solutions support media in their efforts to find the truth? Experts such as Thomas Kent (president and chief executive officer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), David Schraven (publisher, CORRECTIV) and Helje Solberg (chief executive officer and editor, VGTV, Norway) will give answers to these questions.

In a research project conducted at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Dr. Nicolai Erbs developed a solution for dealing with hate, spam and critical opinions in reader comments. The tool works with intelligent algorithms that support moderators in the task of classification, or automatically carry out selection (12 October, 3.30 p.m.).

Among the exhibitors in the Start-up parks, software developer Vlad Kräuter from the digital fact-checking agency, wafana, will present the social listening tool Crowdalyzer. According to the developer, this tool permits the finding, checking and distribution of user-generated content, without the fear of helping to spread fake news.

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