When the press takes a stand

With fake news still undermining facts and AI worming its way into newsrooms, the press faces more challenges than ever.

von Mark Tungate , Adforum

Following World Press Freedom Day on May 3, we find out how journalism is fighting back.

The press has always had issues. Tabloid scandals have provoked a distrust of journalists, while reporters who carry out genuine investigations can expose uncomfortable truths. And of course there’s the problem of censorship, which in extreme cases can lead to imprisonment and violence.

With World Press Freedom day just behind us, let’s take a look at campaigns that defend journalism. Appropriately enough, the first is from Free Press Unlimited, an NGO, which last year literally “erased” words to depict the erosion of truth.

Journalists often look at AI with wariness, feeling it might replace some aspects of their job. But in the next campaign, AI was used to recreate the “journalistic voice” of a long-imprisoned reporter, putting his words and opinions back out into the world.

These days we’re used to seeing the words “Russia” and “censorship” in the same sentence. So how to get the facts about Ukraine through to Russian audiences without being blocked? For the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the answer was a surprising one: an online game called Counter-Strike. It’s played by millions of gamers around the world – including Russians.

If we’re talking about defending the press, it’s worth remembering what, exactly, we’re defending. Here are two pieces for The Guardian in Australia that remind us of the role played by great journalism. The slogan: “In the fight for progress, news needs a guardian.”

To end on a lighter note, here are two typically top-notch ads from Droga 5, showing us what the writing in The New York Times brings to our lives – and our general knowledge. All the articles mentioned are genuine pieces published by the Times.