The problem isn’t fake news or Facebook

There’s been a lot of noise recently about fake news being promoted by Facebook.

I believe the bigger problem is real news. It’s a more subtle problem, but also more dangerous because we consume far more real news than fake news.

I believe that this is a big opportunity for the people bold enough to tackle it.

Here are four big problems with news. (1) People look to news to make sense of the world but…

News makes it harder to understand the world, not easier

News lacks perspective.

For example, 9/11 was huge news. The news made people fear terrorism despite the fact that terrorism is actually a very minor risk.

In the UK, bees and wasps kill more people than terrorism.

In the US, there are 600,000 deaths a year from heart disease compared to 30 a year from terrorism.

2. News makes people miserable

News is negatively skewed. The Metro.co.uk homepage currently has twice as many negative stories as positive stories. Other news sites are worse.

This is despite the fact that the world is more peaceful, people are healthier, and people are materially better off than ever before in human history.

3. Information overload

We spend over 8 hours a day consuming media!

MailOnline publishes 900 articles a day!

4. News misses most of the interesting stuff

Most of the interesting content on the web is NOT news.

Most of the best stuff on YouTube, Reddit and Instagram is NOT news.

TED.com, Netflix, Time Out and Meetup.com are NOT news.

A quick recap

News misleads people, makes people miserable, overloads people and misses most of the interesting stuff out there.

The opportunity

What if there was…

  • A brand that was more interesting
  • A brand that makes you happier
  • A brand that freed up more of your time
  • A brand that makes the world clearer, rather than distorting it

There is a parallel with the fast food industry – the likes of McDonalds are being replaced by Subway and Pret. Consumers have become more savvy and now expect their food to be not just fast and tasty but healthier too.

I believe the same thing will happen to news. The first brand to figure out how will win big.

What do you think… is it time to re-invent news?

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