❌ Anyone can be a self-proclaimed journalist on social media - How to avoid the risk of misinformation?

Technologically speaking, you don't need much to be a self-proclaimed journalist today: all it takes is a phone with a decent camera and mic and an internet connection. This can be proven by how popular audio podcasts and social media profiles sharing news are today. There are hundreds of them online in many languages.

As technology advances and younger generations consume media differently, the landscape of news has changed drastically. Traditional media must adapt to stay relevant in a world where anyone can become a self-proclaimed journalist with just a smartphone and internet access. One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the rise of podcasts and audio journalism for Gen-Z.

Millions of people tune in to listen to their favorite podcast shows every day. They offer a unique listening experience that can be consumed on-the-go, making them an excellent fit for busy Gen-Zers. As a result, many news organizations and talk-shows have started producing their own podcasts to attract younger audiences.

Audio journalism has evolved: we don't listen to the radio anymore but we often listen to radio-style news segments online. These segments often include interviews, soundbites, and background noise, creating a more immersive listening experience. Some young listeners may link this video(audio) editing to the audio fairytale stories they may have listened to when they were kids.

The risk of everybody being able to host a podcast and say whatever they want on it

While the rise of the audio format has been exciting for the industry, it also presents some challenges. It had become very trendy to host a podcast since the pandemic started and the internet is flooded with them. The journalist-made audio content and these home-made podcasts live together in their natural habitat: podcast platfroms. That may be dangerous. One of the main risks is the lack of fact-checking. There can potentially be misinformation and propaganda spreading through the home-made TikToks.

Addressing the risks and fighting misinformation

To address these risks, traditional media outlets must continue to uphold journalistic standards and provide credible, accurate information. They must invest in fact-checking and editorial oversight for all content, and invest into the advertisment of these content. These sensibilisation ads should clearly explain the importance of wisely choosing an information source, no metter the format it comes in.

Additionally, news organizations can work to build trust with their younger audiences by providing transparent and honest reporting. This can be done through initiatives like community outreach and by involving Gen-Zers in the production process, giving them a voice and a sense of ownership in the news.