IfraExpo: Fake news emphasises the need for 'top' journalism

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Launching the DCX/Ifra expo conference programme with a bang, three keynoters gave their take on publishing in challenging times.

The New York Times' Michael Golden, won applause by saying that he "believes we will be printing the newspaper for another generation."

"Print advertising is declining by 15 per cent year-on-year and this will continue, despite us fighting hard.

"We will be printing for years yet and although when we launched digital, we thought readers would abandon print, we were wrong about that and we were wrong too, when we thought the level of advertising would stay the same."

He told an enthralled audience that consumer engagement was the test of success today, and finding the journalism that people engage with was the best way to compete with Google and Facebook.

Mathias Dopfner, chairman and chief executive of leading German media group Axel Springer SE claimed that fake news is not a new phenomenon - it went back to medieval times when gossips in the marketplace spread rumours. "The difference now is that the method of distribution has changed."

He said he favoured working with all the platforms to emancipate newspaper journalism, and was optimistic that progress was being made - "I find that super encouraging.

"The major issue in the US and Europe is the loss of trust in media and the manipulation of media," he said. "But the more damage fake news does, the greater the need for top journalism. There must be no complacency as traditional media has made so many mistakes."

He said mobile was everything for Axel Springer: "The growth of the company entirely depends on digital advertising, on mobile, native and programmatic, and on top quality journalism at all levels and brands."

Axel Springer publishes across 16 countries in local languages, with "as wide a diversity of brands and players as possible - the consumer has to decide what is important to him and people are beginning to realise that brands they can trust are super important," Dopfner said.

Chief executive of DMG Media, Kevin Beatty described how the Daily Mail was growing its brand globally, with a global audience for Mail Online, "the largest English news site in the world, with two thirds of its audience outside the UK."

He said the Mail was proud of its role as storytellers: "Our livelihood depends on our content - our voice, in our accent, guaranteed success. Our craft has not changed over the years but the technology behind it has changed significantly since the Daily Mail was relaunched in 1999, aimed predominantly at women.

"We have 800 content journalists around the world, to tell stories founded on our seriously popular journalism, with 15 million engaged with us each day.

"We love our newspapers and we have many brand extensions in place with the latest being MailTV, launched in September.

"We will interact with audiences, wherever they are, and work closely with Amazon as one of the biggest voices in media, including Alexa and Google Home devices.

"You have to know your audience and must use all the technology available to be totally focussed on our story-telling skills and drilling down to the local level."

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