By Veronica Thompson, US Reporter, 20 Oct 2023
Americans do not trust what they hear on the news. Following the 2020 presidential election, the average voter has lost faith in the media to deliver accurate, truthful information — more than 50 percent, according to recent data from Gallup. With trust between the public and news outlets at an all-time low, journalists are looking for new ways to bolster faith in their readers.
Tonto, an audio-based social media platform, is poised to be a go-to tool for these reporters in the 2024 election season. According to the app’s CEO and founder, Manna Justin, “Tonto can be a way to rebuild the connection between our news outlets and their audiences.”
Traditional news outlets have long relied on highly produced content. But in the age of social media, information travels faster than most local news outlets can keep up. There is significance in sharing uncut information in real time as the general public tries to keep up with conversations about its country’s future. Tonto aims to provide reporters and news stations a platform to share unfiltered content directly with their audiences.
“When these pivotal conversations are happening, access to unfiltered information and the freedom of speech is essential,” points out Justin. “Users can listen, but also join in the conversation and share their perspectives in a real dialog.”
Editorial decisions and limited air time might mean a story is shaved down to just the essential facts. According to Justin, Tonto offers a solution for unpublished content left on the cutting room floor. Reporters and producers can repurpose raw audio material on the social media platform, providing a fresh perspective on news stories and interviews that would otherwise go to waste.
While the journalism sector operates under a strict code of ethics, phony citizen journalism, artificial intelligence, and unresearched claims are just a few reasons the phrase “fake news” has trended in recent years. However, social media allows readers to connect directly with the press more authentically. Dedicated Tonto profiles build authority and trust for reporters and their dedicated stations or networks.
Users can also discover bipartisan coverage and explore different perspectives through the “Tonto Politics” channel, which offers a curated stream of sound bites, videos, and other content from prominent political candidates. This real-time hub provides access to diverse viewpoints and perspectives on the country’s political issues. According to Justin, Tonto anticipates this feature will become an audience favorite as the 2024 election ramps up.
Tonto can overcome traditional publishing constraints, delivering information faster and more directly to the audience. The platform’s short-form audio format allows reporters to convey unfiltered information in a way that resonates with today’s audience. Currently, Tonto is an app-based platform available for download on both Apple and Android devices.
“Everyone has a voice. And everyone must be able to educate themselves on the candidates and what is happening during the campaign. Platforms like Tonto can be a tool for how voters get their news,” says Justin.
As the election season unfolds, reporters are reaching for new tools to better political journalism and its coverage of the democratic process. Explore how reporters and citizen journalists are using Tonto to change political reporting for the 2024 election and beyond at www.gettonto.com.