Is it really news if you just saw it online? Is all news an opinion piece of sorts? Is fake news a given, and fact-checking everyone's responsibility?
These are the questions all media and marketing professionals are increasingly faced with in what The Australian's Chris Griffiths says could be the new 'online trust industry'.
Companies like NewsGuard are launching to help consumers fight the good fight against fake news, but even these efforts are coming into question - Will those with enough finances and resources merely find new ways to trick these new products?
Meanwhile, content and news regulation is also getting stricter, putting pressure on content providers to adhere to set standards and, by default, encouraging consumers to consume content in line with those standards as well. Simultaneously, consumers have arguably more power than ever to drive demand with their wallets. The choice by Netflix to increase their prices, despite the upcoming introduction of cheaper options, Disney+ and Apple TV+, will be very telling as to how much price is impacting consumers' content consumption habits.
The 'quality vs quantity' battle is undoubtedly going to continue and the impact of the 'trust vs entertainment' debate has already proven to be a dangerous one. How will you choose which news to follow or video to watch?
NewsGuard is the brainchild of co-chief executives Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz. Brill is founder of Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, American Lawyer Media, Brill’s Content magazine, Journalism Online and The Yale Journalism Initiative. Crovitz is a former publisher, editorial board member and opinion columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and a board member of Business Insider. The obvious question is: can you trust Brill and Crovitz, who are at the cutting edge of what could be called an online trust industry? They say their analysis of sites (they’ve categorised about 2000 so far) is detailed and transparent, that their team comprises trained journalists dedicated to the profession, that NewsGuard has an ethics and conflicts of interest policy, and readers can see the credentials and backgrounds of everyone responsible for every NewsGuard reliability rating.