Media companies and consumers of news need to focus more on facts and less on opinion, said Fortune CEO Alan Murray in a speech on Friday.
“We have to get back to the point where certain facts are accepted,” said Murray. “It’s more important to be right than to be first.”
Murray spoke Friday at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, as part of a School of Communications speaker series featuring media executives. He has been at Fortune since 2014, first as its editor in chief. The magazine was sold last year to a Thai businessman after being owned by Time Inc. since it started in 1930 before being sold to Meredith Corp.
Murray blamed the advent of social media, particularly Facebook, for leading to a deterioration in the quality of information. He urged consumers to consider a publication’s standards, its willingness to correct errors, and its ability to tell both sides of a story to determine whether its information was factual.
“People need to care that facts really do matter,” he said. “The first thing you can do is care.”
Murray argued that many media outlets have been chasing readers instead of focusing on quality content.
“Ultimately, I’m optimistic” about the future of journalism, said Murray. “I’m optimistic because I believe it matters.”