TED全球问题:劳拉·塞特拉基安:三个方法补救衰败的新闻业

发表时间:2018-08-16内容来源:VOA英语学习网

TED全球问题:Lara Setrakian: 3 ways to fix a broken news industry

Five years ago, I had my dream job.I was a foreign correspondentin the Middle Eastreporting for ABC News.But there was a crack in the wall,a problem with our industry,that I felt we needed to fix.You see, I got to the Middle Eastright around the end of 2007,which was just around the midpointof the Iraq War.But by the time I got there,it was already nearly impossibleto find stories about Iraq on air.Coverage had dropped across the board,across networks.And of the stories that did make it,more than 80 percentof them were about us.We were missing the stories about Iraq,the people who live there,and what was happening to themunder the weight of the war.

Afghanistan had alreadyfallen off the agenda.There were less than one percentof all news stories in 2008that went to the war in Afghanistan.It was the longest war in US history,but information was so scarcethat schoolteachers we spoke totold us they had troubleexplaining to their studentswhat we were doing there,when those students had parentswho were fightingand sometimes dying overseas.

We had drawn a blank,and it wasn't just Iraq and Afghanistan.From conflict zones to climate changeto all sorts of issuesaround CRIses in public health,we were missing what I callthe species-level issues,because as a species,they could actually sink us.And by failing to understandthe complex issues of our time,we were facing certaiNPRactical implications.How were we going to solve problemsthat we didn't fundamentally understand,that we couldn't track in real time,and where the people working on the issueswere invisible to usand sometimes invisible to each other?

When you look back on Iraq,those years when wewere missing the story,were the years when the societywas falling apart,when we were setting the conditionsfor what would become the rise of ISIS,the ISIS takeover of Mosuland terrorist violence that would spreadbeyond Iraq's bordersto the rest of the world.

Just around that timewhere I was making that observation,I looked across the border of Iraqand noticed there was anotherstory we were missing:the war in Syria.If you were a Middle-East specialist,you knew that Syria was that importantfrom the start.But it ended up being, really,one of the forgotten storiesof the Arab Spring.I saw the implications up front.Syria is intimately tiedto regional security,to global stability.I felt like we couldn't let that becomeanother one of the stories we left behind.

So I left my big TV job to starta website, called "Syria Deeply."It was designed to be a newsand information sourcethat made it easier to understanda complex issue,and for the past four years,it's been a resourcefor policymakers and professionalsworking on the conflict in Syria.We built a business modelbased on consistent,high-quality information,and convening the top minds on the issue.And we found it was a model that scaled.We got passionate requeststo do other things "Deeply."So we started to work our waydown the list.

I'm just one of many entrepreneurs,and we are just one of many start-upstrying to fix what's wrong with news.All of us in the trenches knowthat something is wrongwith the news industry.It's broken.Trust in the mediahas hit an all-time low.And the statistic you're seeing up thereis from September —it's arguably gotten worse.But we can fix this.We can fix the news.I know that that's true.You can call me an idealist;I call myself an industrious optimist.And I know there area lot of us out there.We have ideas for howto make things better,and I want to share three of themthat we've picked up in our own work.

Idea number one:we need news that's builton deep-domain knowledge.Given the waves and waves of layoffsat newsrooms across the country,we've lost the art of specialization.Beat reporting is an endangered thing.When it comes to foreign news,the way we can fix thatis by working with more local journalists,treating them like our partnersand collaborators,not just fixers who fetch usphone numbers and sound bites.Our local reporters in Syriaand across Africa and across Asiabring us stories that we certainlywould not have found on our own.Like this one from the suburbsof Damascus, about a wheelchair racethat gave hopeto those wounded in the war.Or this one from Sierra Leone,about a local chiefwho curbed the spread of Ebolaby self-organizinga quarantine in his district.Or this one from the border of Pakistan,about Afghan refugees being forcedto return home before they are ready,under the threat of police intimidation.Our local journalists are our mentors.They teach us something new every day,and they bring us storiesthat are important for all of us to know.

Idea number two:we need a kind of Hippocratic oathfor the news industry,a pledge to first do no harm.

(Applause)

Journalists need to be tough.We need to speak truth to power,but we also need to be responsible.We need to live up to our own ideals,and we need to recognizewhen what we're doingcould potentially harm society,where we lose track of journalismas a public service.

I watched us cover the Ebola CRIsis.We launched Ebola Deeply. We did our best.But what we saw was a publicthat was flooded with hystericaland sensational coverage,sometimes inaccurate,sometimes completely wrong.Public health experts tell methat that actually cost us in human lives,because by sparking more panicand by sometimes getting the facts wrong,we made it harder for people to resolvewhat was actually happening on the ground.All that noise made it harderto make the right decisions.

We can do better as an industry,but it requires us recognizinghow we got it wrong last time,and deciding not to go that way next time.It's a choice.We have to resist the temptationto use fear for ratings.And that decision has to be madein the individual newsroomand with the individual news executive.Because the next deadly virusthat comes aroundcould be much worseand the consequences much higher,if we do what we did last time;if our reporting isn't responsibleand it isn't right.

The third idea?We need to embrace complexityif we want to make senseof a complex world.Embrace complexity —

(Applause)

not treat the world simplistically,because simple isn't accurate.We live in a complex world.News is adult education.It's our job as journaliststo get elbow deep in complexityand to find new ways to make it easierfor everyone else to understand.If we don't do that,if we pretend there arejust simple answers,we're leading everyone off a steep cliff.Understanding complexityis the only way to know the real threatsthat are around the corner.It's our responsibilityto translate those threatsand to help you understand what's real,so you can be prepared and knowwhat it takes to be readyfor what comes next.

I am an industrious optimist.I do believe we can fix what's broken.We all want to.There are great journalistsout there doing great work —we just need new formats.I honestly believethis is a time of reawakening,reimagining what we can do.I believe we can fix what's broken.I know we can fix the news.I know it's worth trying,and I truly believe that in the end,we're going to get this right.

Thank you.

(Applause)

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