In an interview with the Guardian in 2018, writer Yuval Noah Harari – Yes, the Israeli historian famously known for writing the two bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus – shared something interesting: “We′re willing to pay for high-quality food and clothes and cars, so why not high-quality information?”
It’s 2022, and we find ourselves prone to free information everywhere. It’s also easier than ever to slide, click, tap, and the moments when people suddenly started to talk to their phones to say, “Hey Siri, find me a recipe”, aren’t as odd today as they were a few years ago.
While advertisers bid for reader’s attention, Harari mentions in that same interview with the Guardian: “there is no penalty for creating a sensational story that is untrue”. I deeply believe the current economic model that determines which stories are told, clicked on, and compensated is in need of transformation. Writers, artists, and even news sites are faced with a challenge: to transform not just the experience around reading, but also the way those stories are compensated.
In a world of clickbait and overload, the stories that foster meaning and thoughtfulness and stay relevant over time don’t seem to score high within the algorithm. The kinds of stories I love to see more often don´t make it to the top of the search engines. For a long time that was the story of Kalief Browder. Stories like Blandine, and issues like diarrhea as the main cause of child death in Africa remain relatively unknown to the bigger audience. There are many different stories that are both evident and relevant – yet they can only become widely visible if we proactively support and bring those stories to a wider audience.
To know where we come from, how we end up here, and to be guided the way forward, there is an opportunity in front of us to bring stories alive based on reader’s support. Support that promotes stories with a bit of substance, stories that we truly want to see, that make us feel connected to each other, really connect with ourselves, and even make us laugh a little bit.
Let´s start this journey.