Five years ago,
I had my dream job.
I was a foreign correspondent in the Middle East reporting 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 East right around the end of 2007,
which was just around the midpoint of the the Iraq war.
But by the time I got there,
it was already nearly impossible to find stories about Iraq on air.
The coverage had dropped across the board across networks
and the stories that did make it
more than 80% of them were about us.
We were missing the stories about Iraq
the people who live there
and what was happening to them under the weight of the war.
Afghanistan had already fallen off the agenda.
There were less than 1% of all news stories in 2008 that went to the war in Afghanistan.
It was the longest war in US history.
But information was so scarce
that school teachers we spoke to
told us that they had trouble explaining to their students
what we were doing there.
when those students had parents
who were fighting and sometimes dying overseas.
We had drawn a blank
and it wasn’t just Iraq and Afghanistan.
From conflict zones to climate change
to all sorts of issues around crises in public health.
We were missing what I call the species level issues
because as a species they could actually sink us.
And by failing to understand the complex issues of our time,
we were facing certain practical implications.
How are we going to solve problems that we didn’t fundamentally understand
that we couldn’t track in real time and
we’re the people working on the issues were invisible to us
and sometimes invisible to each other.
When you look back on Iraq those years,
we were missing story,
where the years when the society was falling apart
when we were setting the conditions for what would become the rise of Isis.
The Isis take over of Mosul and terrorist violence that would spread
beyond Iraq’s borders to the rest of the world.
Just around that time where I was making that observation.
I looked across the border of Iraq and noticed
there was another story we were missing:
The war in Syria.
If you are Middle East specialist,
you knew that Syria was that important from the start.
But it ended up being really one of the Forgotten stories of the Arab Spring.
I saw the implications up front.
Syria is intimately tied to regional security to global stability.
I felt like we couldn’t let that become another one of the stories we left behind.
So I left my big TV job to to start a website called Syria Deeply.
It was designed to be a news and information source that
made it easier to understand a complex issue.
And for the past four years it’s been a resource
for policy makers and professionals working on the conflict in Syria.
我们建立的商业模式 基于具连贯性 高质量的信息资讯
We built a business model based on consistent high quality information
and convening the top minds on the issue.
And we found that it was a model that scaled.
We got passionate requests to do other things deeply.
So we started to work our way down the list.
I’m just one of many entrepreneurs
and we are just one of many startups
trying to fix what’s wrong with news.
All of us in the trenches know that something is wrong with the news industry.
Trust in the media has hit an all-time low
and the statistic you’re seeing up there is 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 are a lot of us out there.
We have ideas for how to make things better.
在此 我想和你们分享三点 我们在工作中找到的办法
And I want to share three of them that we’ve picked up in our own work.
Idea number one:
We need news that’s built on deep domain knowledge.
Given the waves and waves of layoffs newsrooms across the country,
we’ve lost the art of specialization.
Deep reporting is an endangered thing.
When it comes to foreign news,
the way we can fix that is by working with more local journalists
treating them like our partners and collaborators
not just fixers who fetch us phone numbers and sound bytes.
Our local reporters in Syria and across Africa and across Asia
bring us stories that we certainly would not have found on our own
like this one from the suburbs of Damascus
about a wheelchair race
that gave hope to those wounded in the war
or this one from Sierra Leone about a local chief who
who curbed the spread of Ebola by self-organizing a quarantine in his district or
or this one from the border of Pakistan about
Afghan refugees being forced to return home,
before they’re ready under the threat of police intimidation.
Our local journalists are our mentors.
They teach us something new every day,
and they bring us stories that are important for all of us to know.
Idea number two:
We need a kind of Hippocratic oath for the news industry,
a pledge to first do no harm.
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
and we need to recognize
when what we’re doing could potentially harm society,
where we lose track of journalism as a public service.
I watched this cover the Ebola crisis.
We launched Ebola Deeply.
We did our best.
But what we saw was a public
that was flooded with hysterical and sensational coverage,
sometimes inaccurate, sometimes completely wrong.
Public health experts tell me that actually cost us in human lives,
because by sparking more panic and
by sometimes getting the facts wrong.
we made it harder for people to resolve
what was actually happening on the ground.
All that noise made it harder to make the right decisions.
We can do better as an industry.
But it requires us recognizing
how we got it wrong last time
and deciding not to go that way next time.
It’s a choice.
我们需要抵制诱惑 不利用公众恐惧心理 获取关注率
We have to resist the temptation to use fear for ratings
and that decision has to be made in the individual newsroom
and with the individual news executive,
because the next deadly virus that comes around could be much worse.
And the consequence is much higher.
If we do what we did last time
if our reporting isn’t responsible,
and it isn’t right.
The third idea:
We need to embrace complexity
if we want to make sense of a complex world.
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 journalists to get
elbow-deep in complexity and
define new ways to make it easier for everyone else to understand.
If we don’t do that, if we pretend there are just simple answers.
we’re leading everyone off a steep cliff.
Understanding complexity is the only way to know the real threats that are around the corner.
It’s our responsibility to translate those threats and
to help you understand what’s real.
So you can be prepared
and know what it takes to be ready for what comes next.
I am an industrious optimist.
I do believe we can fix what’s broken.
We all want to there are great journalists out there doing great works.
We just need new formats.
老实说 我相信 觉醒的时代到来了
I honestly believe this 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.