Making news

OANA 44: OANA news agencies share experience to regain trust in mainstream news

In the context that websites and social media are flooded with unverified information, members of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) shared experience in regaining trust in mainstream news on the occasion of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting hosted by the Vietnam News Agency in Hanoi from April 18-20.

To verify information circulating on the Internet and make it useful for its news coverage, Kyodo News of Japan created the “D-Watch team” in 2012, which is in charge of monitoring various websites and social media, like Facebook and Twitter, every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and regularly reports to its News Department’s nerve centre, called the News Centre, about newsworthy information.

If the News Centre judges that it is better to cover something, based on information from the D-Watch team, the centre will instruct news sections to send reporters to the spot where the news is happening. Reporters verify the information on the spot, and write news articles and take photos as well as videos if necessary. Kyodo reporters directly contact witnesses or information providers via social media and obtain more details, photos and videos.

On the other hand, news sections may ask the D-Watch team to closely monitor information on websites and social media when a big accident or a huge natural disaster happens. Information from the D-Watch team has sometimes resulted in breaking news stories, the agency shared in its country report sent to the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting.

According to Kyodo News, along with monitoring information on websites and social media by itself, the D-Watch team is now using an AI-assisted system called “FASTALERT”. The system, developed by JX Press Corp., detects accidents, disasters and other newsworthy things at an early date, collecting information posted by witnesses on social media.

In this digital era when cyberspace is flooded with various unverified information, one of the important roles for the traditional media is to verify such information and offer to readers what is true. In this sense, going back to the basics of news agencies - reporting facts rapidly and accurately - is the key to regaining trust in mainstream news, the agency stressed.

Sharing measures to win global public trust, Director General of Turkey’s Anadolu Agency Senol Kazanci said that news agencies should grow continuously, increase production and keep up the quality of its services.

He shared that AA is the dominating primary news source for the Turkish media, which proves that the agency has won the public trust as the mainstream news source in Turkey.

To that end, AA has increased its broadcast languages up to 13, positioned itself in a global photo distribution network with its high quality photos, increased the number of its worldwide offices to 41 and representatives to 100, signed cooperation agreements with 70 leading news agencies and gained subscribers from 76 countries.

Presently, the agency is providing news services with the staff from 124 different nationalities, he added.