Quality news will be central to creating a better future in this pivotal phase in humanity


Last week I gave the opening keynote at the International News Media Association Virtual World Congress, on the topic of Reinvention for a Post-Pandemic Future.

My keynote was focused on the manifold opportunities for the news industry at this time of exceptional change.

However the subtext was the critical role of news in supporting a better future for everyone.

As this decade dawned, even before the pandemic gained momentum, I strongly believed that the coming years will be pivotal in the story of humanity.

One of the many dimensions is the nature and role of democracy. It has been clearly eroded by the rise of populism and the weaponization of social media, and to transcend these developments depends on us being well-informed.

Even beyond that, the deep ethical choices we face, not least in how we collectively deal with god-like technologies, require us to be conversant with the potential and implications of what we have wrought.

As we take the opportunity to reinvent society post-pandemic, we need to be aware of the possibilities, and have access to diverse perspectives on their implications.

Quality news very likely requires a prosperous news industry, yet it is deeply challenged by long-term secular trends as well as the economic strains induced by pandemic.

If we succeed in creating a tomorrow that most believe is better than today or yesterday, we can be sure that supply of and demand for quality news will have been instrumental in that outcome.

In these times of extraordinary change, quality news will inevitably be central to us creating a better future. Let us act to support it.