We’ve all been hearing a lot about fake news recently. The rising distrust in the media and, especially, online the news served to us on online networking sites, is a concern to anyone who sees a free press as the essential fourth pillar of democracy.

But could the fake news phenomenon actually be good news for the printed press?

Donald Trump claims to have coined the term “fake news”. He’s certainly thrown the accusation around a few times. Leaving aside the question of whether this is actually something of which to be proud, it’s evident that this claim in itself is fake news.

The etymology experts at Merriam Webster dictionaries have demonstrated that the term was clearly in use in the late 19th Century. And the techniques involved have been in practice far longer.

But Trump’s claims of wordsmithery are indicative of the dizzying tailspins one gets into when considering the fake news label. A recent global survey by Two Sides found that 76% of consumers questioned were concerned about “fake news”.

So just how can consumers really get a handle on which news they can rely on?

In response to the fake news phenomenon, one new retro trend is emerging: a return to the printed press. Democracy was founded on the printing press, after all.

So, it makes sense that it should turn to the printed press in an hour of need.

The Two Sides survey found that people trust the news they consume through printed media far more than they trust the news they consume online.

The survey stated: “More consumers believe they gain a deeper understanding of the story when read from print media (65%) over online news sources (49%). In addition, consumers also trust the stories read in printed newspapers (51%) more than stories found on social media (24%).”
And now a top media trading executive is predicting a new Golden Age of newspapers. Steve Goodman, managing director of print trading at WPP’s GroupM UK said:

“We are in the age of murky, fraudulent online sites and even murkier fake news and poor-quality content, and my instinct is that, against that backdrop, newspapers are about to experience a renaissance and perhaps even enter a new golden age.”

Goodman’s predictions follow the comments in March 2017 by WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, writing in the UK’s Daily Telegraph: “As Google, Facebook, Twitter and others face accusations of giving a platform to hatred and fake news, and even of swinging elections, distrust in information shared on social media ought to increase public appetite for more traditional, reliable news providers.

This can be a huge opportunity for the printing industry.