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The Fix Weekly Digest: The Past and the Future

Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every Friday, we bring you five important news stories from the world of media — and try to put them in a wider context.

Misinformation has become one of the biggest social challenges. With pandemic-related fakes rampant, the problem is far from solved, but there might be some good news: young people seem to have relatively strong “misinformation immune systems”.

As Axios reports, new polling and research suggests that “younger people apply more context, nuance and skepticism to their online information consumption”. These findings apply to the Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012.

While 83% of this generation’s college students get most of their news online, primarily via social media, they know how to navigate this sea of content. Only 7% think that social media is the most trustworthy news platform.

As the report puts it, “the first generation to grow up with social media, Gen Z has an innate understanding of how to create and move online content, which makes them less susceptible to misinformation”.

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This week has seen the BBC generating notable headlines. On Tuesday, the company published its annual report. The organization highlighted it had a “strong year”, boasting that 41 million people used it daily on average last year.

The report also shows the BBC has managed to further reduce its gender pay gap, and the organization has been essential during the pandemic. Still, the broadcaster acknowledged it “must keep reforming at an urgent pace”

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Other important news from BBC: according to reports, the broadcaster plans to make cuts by axing radio reporters and making them reapply for new roles. The Guardian notes that radio reporters will be asked to reapply “for a smaller number of jobs as television, radio and digital reporters, rather than as dedicated audio journalists”.

While this move is not completely out of the blue — after all, radio has been steadily changing and migrating into the digital sphere — many reporters fear it marks “the premature end of an era for the BBC”.

The podcast industry has just seen the arrival of a new powerful player — Amazon. This week, Amazon Music announced that it would start supporting podcasts in several countries. Podcasts will be included in current subscriptions. Amazon Music will both support the existing infrastructure of free podcasts and offer original programs.

As noted by TechCrunch, Amazon Music reaches around 55 million subscribers. Thus, “distributing to Amazon Music will be necessary for any top podcast creator”. Amazon Music’s expansion into podcasts highlights the increasing relevance of podcasts in the media market and follows other big media companies, from Spotify to Sony.

Japan is a highly developed country where press freedom, while far from perfect, has not been a source for major concern in recent decades. Yet, Reporters Without Borders have reacted notably strongly to the election of the country’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who replaced the longest-serving PM Shinzo Abe this week.

In a statement, Reporters Without Borders noted that Japan has fallen significantly in the World Press Freedom Index in recent years, during the time when Suga was Chief Cabinet Secretary and Abe’s closest political ally. The organization highlighted the government’s “climate of hostility towards journalists and attempting to interfere in media coverage”, as well as Suga’s somewhat complicated relationship history with the media.

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