July 10, 2017 Last Updated 11:34 am

iBooks Author vs Fake News: the fight we deserve

Guest column: Bradley Metrock, CEO of Nashville-based Score Publishing, producer of the iBooks Author Conference, believes multimedia publishing can help boost the credibility of content with readers

“Fake news” is a Rohrshach test of sorts – perfect for our so-called “Information Age.”

Define it as misinformation preceding the 2016 election, and you’re of one political persuasion, and use it to describe bias present in post-election reporting and journalism, and you’re of the other.

However you define it, no one should be surprised by the fact that our world is under siege by fake news, at the same time people are routinely asking “what is a book?

The tool that mankind has relied upon for thousands of years to provide trusted information – the book – has been co-opted by an ever-expanding array of mediums. Podcasts and live-streaming video and ephemeral social media run wild, and our youngest generations spend more time creating content, rather than reading it.

Add in a fiercely divided political landscape, and you get today’s societal impasse. You get the inability to have civil discourse. You get chaos.

In a world where almost no one, on either side of the spectrum, fully trusts the mainstream media, reporting can be discarded like garbage without even being heard or considered when it doesn’t match our existing beliefs. Liberals and conservatives both do this.

So what’s the answer? Part of it lies in the evolution of storytelling.

Think about it. What news is not considered “fake” by anyone? News that has clear, corroborating photo, audio, or video evidence.

Trump’s Access Hollywood video, video of Hillary collapsing into a van during the campaign, rage-filled football players caught on camera punching women, a slew of racist episodes involving police brutality, and just over the weekend here in Tennessee, some guy who decided to ram a bicyclist off the road and was caught on tape. And earlier this year, in my home state of Alabama, audio played a key role in the downfall of the state Governor.

When the mainstream media says you did something these days, maybe you did it, or maybe you didn’t.

But when multi-media says you did something, guess what? There’s no dispute.

So when Tim Cook says we need to fight back against fake news, he appears to forget that Apple itself has created what ought to be one of the finest weapons against it.

iBooks Author.

I’ve written many times before about the power and uniqueness that Apple’s free digital publishing software brings to anyone with a story to tell.

From telling the story of an asbestos mine in Montana that killed hundreds of people, to telling the story of NASA’s successful Juno Mission, to telling the story of how children can learn music production by deconstructing and then reconstructing a popular song, iBooks Author represents the evolution of storytelling for which society is longing.

And yet, Apple doesn’t promote it. Tim Cook has never tweeted about it, and has never mentioned it in public, even when discussing Steve Jobs, who championed iBooks Author before he died.

Apple’s education unit does not aggressively promote it as you’d expect either, instead focusing on promoting coding initiatives in schools. One would assume the largest company in the world would have enough bandwidth to preach the gospel of both.

Finally, Apple’s team behind Apple News also does not promote iBooks Author, singularly focusing on curating a selection of mainstream news articles.

Making more people aware they can produce multi-media books, and have their stories and their perspectives heard using text, images, audio, video, and even interactive elements, means we move one step closer to closing the impasse between us as citizens of the planet.

More people using software like iBooks Author means one step closer to unity, between political sides, on things that are actually true.

One step closer to retiring the term “fake news” and re-defining what it means to report information to a ever-skeptical public.

One step closer to a new definition of “book” to be carefully and thoughtfully-written text, surrounded and defined by corroborating multi-media of all types.

One step closer to an actual Information Age.

Bradley Metrock is CEO of Score Publishing, a company with the mission of helping people become better interactive content creators, and also serves as executive producer of the iBooks Author Conference.

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