In recent years, the digital revolution has both changed the face of the media and cast an unflattering light upon its failings. In many parts of the world, the news is either censored or difficult to access and even modern democracies, such as the United States, are struggling to filter out fake news and irresponsible journalism.
Philanthropy Can Bring Integrity Back to Journalism
One resource available to the media, yet underutilized, is that of philanthropy. recently, this type of funding has been more directly applied to addressing the problem of fake news, promoting more thorough fact-checking policies. This is beginning to help, but, since we’re just learning how widespread the problem is, the media and philanthropists funneling money to news organizations are far behind.
The blame lies with philanthropists and with journalists. Collectively, these two parts of the same mechanism lacked the level of inquisitiveness necessary to uncover the problem. As a result, societies in countries around the world have been weakened and corrupted by a flood of disinformation and false information. As social media and news outlets continue to struggle against allowing fake news to make its way to the public, a fear that there will be a “resulting deterioration of public discourse” may lead to a breakdown of functioning civilized society.
How Can Philanthropy Benefit the Revitalization of the Media?
Already, philanthropy has helped to bring better reporting to underdeveloped areas, where the flow of news is otherwise inhibited. Independent news outlets have been funded to report on news in Malaysia, Peru, and Panama, as well as many other areas. This helps to create a better, more reliable flow of authentic, unbiased news, lowering the need to depend on an unsupported assumption.
Even so, the entire burden cannot be laid at the feet of philanthropy. The limited resources philanthropy provides are already stretched to fund even more than intended. The funding can’t be used solely to battle fake news when the world also needs greater media coverage of such ongoing problems as social injustices, global warming, and healthcare issues.
The best solution is for philanthropy and the media to work together to better utilize the available resources. In reporting on global issues and simultaneously battling its own problem of biased and false reporting, the media needs to use the resources provided through philanthropy to promote greater journalistic integrity. Through this effort, the world can receive more reliable information and the media can, once again, earn the public’s trust.