Local news tinted with online misinformation
“Whatever you do, do not believe a stranger on social media who disappears into the night.” – James Mitchinson, editor of the Yorkshire Post wrote in an email.
Since the 2016 election in the US revealed how easy it is to manipulate social media platforms, there have been many initiatives to counter disinformation. American academic, Whitney Phillips, who studies disinformation, describes the current approach as being equivalent to an environmental movement which tries to clean up a few yards of beach rather than tackle the systemic problem of pollution.
The Washington Post columnist, Margaret Sullivan notes local reporting can often rank higher than national news. However, it is highly vulnerable to online misinformation.
Writing in the Observer, Alan Rusbridger says that good journalism is needed as a primary defense mechanism against noxious content. However, with this, good journalists and a proper regulatory system is also needed governed by sound legislation.