#107 How Trust Can Save Journalism: Aron Pilhofer

Journalism is in crisis. Our trust in the news media has fallen to an all-time low. One recent poll found that two thirds of Americans believe mainstream news organizations often publish fake news.

The business model at many newspapers, magazines, radio stations and websites is failing.  Declining revenues have forced layoffs and other cutbacks at news organizations across the country.


Professor Aron Pilhofer of Temple University, one of the world's most respected experts in digital innovation for journalists, is our guest.  Before joining Temple, Aron was Executive Editor of Digital journalism at the Guardian in London and was a former senior executive at the New York Times.

"It's impossible to overemphasize what a vast change there is now in the way people get their information," Aron tells us. For his young students at Temple, the news "finds them" through their feeds at Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. The news is not handed down from high. Instead, it's part of a conversation. 
Aron says regaining readers' trust is essential to the future of journalism. Covering "what now" of news - solutions - is one answer. Greater transparency in how stories are covered and a much deeper commitment to diversity in newsrooms are among the fixes we discuss.

#10 Fix It Shorts: What We Learned in Our First 100 episodes

For Jim and Richard "How Do We Fix It?" has been a great big learning experience.

From how to switch careers to the search for meaning and the importance of speaking to strangers, our guests have proposed many smart, practical solutions. And they've also challenged conventional wisdom.

Our podcast invites listeners to get into their discomfort zone as a way of being more receptive to change.  

Jim starts this show revealing what he learned from David McRaney, host of "You Are Not So Smart," - a podcast about psychology.  David told us about our deep attachment to confirmation bias - where most of us try to confirm our views, rather than challenging ourselves with an opposing hypothesis.  

As someone who admits he knows little about science, Richard says he has learned about the scientific method from several guests, including Ainissa Ramirez and Michael Shermer. In the lab, scientists routinely test and try to disprove a theory before they embrace it as fact.

Some Fix It episodes were ahead of the curve. John Gable, Joan Blades, Geoff Colon and other guests raised the alarm about filter bubbles and online information silos well before Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley executives voiced their concerns.

Last year, Megan McArdle, a columnist at Bloomberg View, spoke to us about the tangled problems of fixing Obamacare months before President Trump and House Republicans realized how hard it be to "repeal and replace" without a massive fight. 

We also heard from Steve Hilton, former personal advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron.  He made the pro-European case for Brexit in a surprising and enlightened way.

Richard tells Jim: "I've learned a lot from you," declaring himself to be a "thorough convert" to Jim's conviction that we romanticize the past and catastrophize the present. Richard has also come over to Jim's view that the challenge to free speech on college campuses is a much more serious problem than many believe.

Now on to the next 100 shows.