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Posted:
24 November 2016

Author:
Bertrand Pecquerie

GEN Summit 2017: From post-truth to VR, navigating media’s future

At GEN, our holidays are very short. We start working on the next GEN Summit in July, just a few weeks after the end of our annual conference. So back in July 2016, it was very clear to us that the main topic for June 2017 would be related to newsbots, machine learning and automated news with a few touches of Virtual Reality, as our goal is to soon launch a VR News Challenge for media organisations starting to produce 360 videos or VR reports on a regular basis. This is why a first brainstorming session selected this headline:

From AR to VR, the new media alphabet

As September came, with the annual conference of our ONA Friends, we were comforted in this idea: everyone there seemed to be speaking about either Artificial Intelligence (AI), fact-checking or immersive journalism, no mentions of trolls, fake news and the influence of Facebook on the US presidential election.

Three weeks after the election of Donald Trump, and with the perspective of 20 general elections to come across the globe in the coming year (just in Europe, France and Germany for instance), it has become obvious that editors-in-chief want to debate on the role of legacy media and new players in our democracies: what of the irrelevance of fact-checking? Why are traditional media and millennial-oriented websites ignored by some communities in favour of disinformation websites? What went wrong in the US election coverage? How can editors avoid the mistakes US media organisations made and adjust to populist campaigns?

In light of these realisations, a major shift was needed and we changed the headline to the following:

FROM POST-TRUTH TO VIRTUAL REALITY:
NAVIGATING MEDIA’S FUTURE

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