Alan Rusbridger: "The most successful businesses are the ones that realise they can’t refuse to engage"

The former editor of the Guardian on trust, the future of journalism and the lessons it holds for business.

by Stephen Jones

The media was one of the first industries to face disruption by internet companies. Reporting budgets were slashed as advertising and print revenues fell. Speed and clickability were favoured over journalistic depth and accuracy, leaving it ill-equipped to respond to the rise of social media and fake news.

Trust in the sector inevitably plummeted, with the spring 2020 update to Edelman’s Trust Barometer revealing that only 48% of the general public trusted journalists to tell the truth about Covid-19. For a profession built on providing information in an era of too much information, this is an existential problem.

Alan Rusbridger saw this transformation during his 20 years as editor of The Guardian, when he oversaw a huge shift in the editorial remit and business model. In his latest book, News and How to Use It, he says he wants to “explain to journalists why they can’t continue to take trust for granted”. We talked to him about the future of the industry and what it can teach other businesses about trust. 

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