Entries in Fake News (2)


Why regional and local publishers are winning readers’ trust

With the rise of smartphones and digital platforms over the last ten years, online news content has risen exponentially. While undoubtedly this has put pressure on the publishers of regional and local newspapers, it has also created an exciting prospect for them.

An opportunity to earn audience trust

A survey from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found that trust in social media is declining. The research found that just 18% of those in the UK believe that social media does a good job of separating fact from fiction.

These circumstances have fostered a unique opportunity for local and regional newspapers, as a good example of being a source of information in the media.

Establishing trust with audiences is a topic that was echoed at the recent Digital Journalism Summit, hosted by Press Gazette. In the words of Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker, “Local news brands beat Facebook hands down when it comes to trust and relevance”.

The importance of this cannot be understated for regional and local publishers. While trust in credibility has declined in the ever-increasingly fragmented world of the general media, regional and local publishers can boast long-standing credibility with their audiences.

In fact, Faure Walker stressed this when he went on to say, “At Newsquest most of our daily news sites are read at least once a month by over 70% of adults in our respective towns and cities across the U.K.  When you consider that Facebook’s audience penetration is only 50% and now plateauing, you start to appreciate the power of local news brands.”

Another attendee of the Summit, Alison Gow of Trinity Mirror Regionals, built on this, saying: “People care about what affects them, and the human faces at the front of it. Gain the trust of people – know your patch, and get good content. Let people tell the story.”

With a focus on what’s happening in the community, local and regional papers have a track record of putting people at the heart of their news content and in turn, earn trust with their readers.

An opportunity to deliver trust to advertisers

Trust builds brand loyalty; something that’s particularly important as news consumption habits evolve.  In an ever-changing and challenging market, regional publishers are working together, not against each other. One result of this collaboration is 1XL, which represents over 30 regional newspaper publishers.

Speaking directly to NLA media access, Faure Walker (also one of the founders of 1XL) said: Online, local news sites are nearly three times more trusted than social media. Brands who advertise with us know that they will not appear next to any inappropriate content.  Unlike Facebook or YouTube, our content is curated and checked by thousands of hard-working professional journalists up and down the country.

“And because of this we deliver great results for our advertisers.  Through industry collaboration such as 1XL, which brings together 30 regional publishers across the UK, we have also become much easier to transact with.

“It is vital that national advertisers and their ad agencies make the most of what we have to offer as a sector.  And they can do so in the knowledge that advertising with us also helps to sustain great local journalism, a great public good and a backbone of local democracy.”

What NLA media access is doing in the fight for real news  

NLA works hard to support publishers wherever possible and will continue to do so.  The company not only provides copyright protection to these trusted publishers, but it also returns over 80 per cent of revenue back to national and regional publishers allowing them to reinvest this money into supporting quality journalism.

If you want to find out more about what we do, head to the company’s website: 

And to take a look at what NLA is doing to help combat fake news, find out about our OATS product here.


Blockchain: How can it de-fake news?

The first week of October saw the 49th FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress in Berlin, an opportunity for media monitoring companies from around the world to meet, network, exchange ideas and experiences, and listen to a range of talks and panels on areas of interest to the sector. The theme of this year’s congress was ‘Media Intelligence and the New Paradigm of Brand Communication.’

I attended, meeting clients as well as new faces providing the opportunity in getting up to date with the issues that face MMOs, one talk in particular stood out as having interest for those of us who work in publishing; the handling of content and copyright. It spurred me on to go and read up on how this technology can be used in our sector.

The talk in question was given by Dr. Elisabeth Hödl from Ubifacts in Austria and was entitled ‘Solving Trust Issues through Blockchain’.  

For the uninitiated (as I was myself a week ago) this blog post by Nik Custodio on Coindesk has the best explanation I have come across: Bitcoin explanation even a five year old will understand. To encapsulate something that is really quite complex into a bitesize blog friendly chunk, it might be helpful to describe Blockchain as a publicly accessible, decentralised ledger - a giant network, which records transactions.  Since it allows near instantaneous transfers anywhere in a matter of seconds without the need for banks or the involvement of any authorities, its primary application has been in the financial sectors. (You may have heard about its most famous application – the digital currency Bitcoin for example)

What does it mean for those of us who work in publishing and copyright?

The relevant applications are twofold – one, it has relevance for news sites looking to monetise content (see the New Scientist blog post) and two, as a means to validate content to combat fake news. It’s the latter that I will focus on here.

The democratisation of content in the online age and all its attendant benefits is well documented elsewhere, but it has also brought a sizeable pitfall to the news landscape in the digital age: Verifiability. How can readers be assured that what they are reading online is trustworthy? The most recent, very obvious and noisy icon of the fake news issue is the 2016 US elections during which even the mainstream US outlets engaged in public mudslinging about bias.

A number of start-ups have recently waded into the fray with novel ideas to use Blockchain to combat this very 21st Century problem. Snip and Userfeeds are two of the best known, and aim to utilise that ‘decentralisation’ that I talked about above to help readers navigate the mass of content with open eyes.

Snip, as the name suggests, offers concise news stories, covering a wide range of topics. Snip uses SnipCoin, its proprietary ‘cryptocurrency’ and the community of writers who write the stories on Snip are ‘paid’ in SnipCoins. These can be used by readers and advertisers alike to spend on the platform. The important bit here is that readers can rate content and flag them as erroneous or fake, ensuring that users get to vet the content for other users.

So, what next? As is often the case with new technologies, nothing will happen quickly and there is much work to be done. However, in a world where fake news is a real concern with real impact on revenue lines, the implementation of new technologies like Blockchain to the publishing sector can only be a help. Clearly, whether an article is actually ‘true’ or not, is outside of the scope of Blockchain, but until that point such technology exists, this seems like a very good start.