By Kevin Doyle
Group Content Editor
It is no secret the mainstream media has experienced an excruciating couple of years. The industry is flummoxed by how to counter the unyielding onslaught of fake news.
As an industry veteran of more than 40 years across multiple platforms, the term fake news is offensive. It demeans the work that goes into the news-gathering process. It marginalizes and trivializes print, broadcast and online journalists trained to do a proper job of gathering, evaluating and verifying facts, and vetting sources before running with a story.
Lobbing accusatory shots at news organizations and their representatives and labeling their work fake news has become a national sport.
Why has this happened? The immediacy of social media certainly plays a role but traditional journalism is not without a measure of blame. Journalists were once required to play it down the middle and let the consumer decide on the merits of the information. Now agenda-driven reporting seems to be the new normal. Delivering only part of the story is akin to reporting fake news.
In the early days of the information superhighway – way back in the ‘90s – the industry largely viewed the internet as an annoyance. As it grew and matured, the internet then became an adversary to be conquered. By the time those in journalism understood and recognized the internet as a powerful tool to be embraced in the spirit of collaboration … well you know how that went, especially in the print industry.
It’s not surprising that, according to a 2016 report by the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation, more than 44 percent of the American population with access to Facebook relies on the platform for daily news.
That newsfeed is generated by algorithmic (robo) content curation designed to identify and show people what is relevant to them. The system is not without shortcomings and Facebook announced its latest change in June of this year in order to “limit the reach of people known to frequently blast out links to clickbait stories, sensationalist websites and misinformation.”
Long-term research by Yale Law School’s Information Society Project concluded that “algorithmic modeling may be biased or limited and the uses of algorithms are still opaque in many critical sectors.”
For its part, Twitter has evolved into a 24/7 feed and has fueled a “me first” mentality. In the rush to get it first instead of getting it right, mistakes are made and fake news is propagated. And, as we all know, once uttered or published, untruths cannot be untold.
For whatever it’s worth, a BuzzFeed survey revealed that print newspapers, even in their diminished state, are the most trusted news delivery platform favored by 74 percent of respondents, followed by broadcast news (66%), talk radio (57%), YouTube (53%) and Twitter (49%).
A couple of observations:
- Many marvelous, unaffiliated bloggers have their fingers on the pulse of their area of expertise and their reporting is superb. However, not everyone armed with a cell phone, an opinion, a platform and dedicated followers is a journalist.
- Anyone with the time, expertise and inclination can design a web site, brand it as news, and publish whatever they like. Ideology, viewpoints and truth are irrelevant.
It is incumbent upon the individual consumer to self-educate. Learn to distinguish between that which is true and that which is not. Listen with a critical ear. Read with a trained eye. Then pluck the morsels of truth from the mindless morass of misinformation.
Nexxus Group clients pile up industry accolades
Many of our client-partners have earned some serious industry props in the past several months.
Sheetz, the innovative and forward-thinking chain headquartered in Altoona, PA is now in its 65th year of operation. It was named Convenience Store Decisions magazine’s 2017 Chain of the Year, becoming the first two-time winner.
Rutter’s Farm Stores of York, PA boasts transformational Foodservice Operation under the direction Ryan Krebs. A one-time executive and corporate chef, Krebs joined Rutter’s four years ago. He was honored as the Convenience Store News 2017 Foodservice Leader of the Year at the 2017 CSNews Convenience Foodservice & Beverage Exchange held Sept. 12-13 in Chicago.
Tom Colbert began his career as a developer at Kwik Trip, Inc. 23 years ago. He has overseen the evolution of technology from a way to simplify operations into an absolutely essential component for success in the convenience store industry. He has been named 2017 Technology Leader of the Year by Convenience Store News.
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Have you ever wondered about how and why we started? Established in 2003 by co-founders Jim Rao and Rino Vitolo in response to a specific request by a New England grocery retailer to assist with newspaper billing management, Nexxus Group® has grown exponentially.
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