Posted in Industry Insights

AP’s top editor: Journalism ‘more important than ever’

, by Lauren Easton

During a panel at the virtual Collision Conference on Tuesday, Executive Editor Sally Buzbee addressed the current speed and volume of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and how news organizations must combat it.

“It is an absolute firehose right now and I think it is a huge challenge to news organizations and also a huge challenge to civil society globally,” Buzbee said. “Our response to that is to do factual reporting and to be credible.”

She continued:

Part of the reason we believe in being a nonpartisan, fact-based news organization is because we want to be able to appeal to not just to one side or another but to have our news report as trusted as possible by the whole spectrum of people — not just in the United States, we are a global news organization — and we want to be not loved but believed by as broad of a group as possible.The transparency of how we gather information is important. The fact-checking is enormously important. Jumping on things quickly is one of the most important things. I will say you sometimes you can’t immediately ascertain in two minutes if something is true or false. So actual real journalism does take some amount of time and effort and budget. I think the entire world has a huge interest in pushing back against misinformation. And I do think that news organizations  — not just mine, but all credible, fact-based news organizations — and individual newspeople who are credible and fact-based are enormously important in this fight and should be supported.
AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee, top right, speaks at the virtual Collision Conference, June 23, 2020. (AP Photo)

Buzbee highlighted the importance of evolving the way journalism is presented in order to grow audiences.

“The way we think about this is our basic mission and commitment to integrity and facts are not changing at all. But the presentation of our journalism is what we’re all focused on right now,” she said. “Not just meeting younger audiences but also getting our information into spaces where people are actually consuming information.”

She also discussed the future of the news industry and the value of journalism.

“Journalism is more important than ever,” Buzbee said. “There are a lot of challenges, but I would say there is also an enormous amount of committed people who believe in fact-based journalism out there. And if you care about this issue, you can find them and find ways to support them.”

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith and New York Times media columnist Ben Smith joined the discussion, which was moderated by BBC Africa Business Editor Larry Madowo.