Trust in Journalism

Back in the day, people got their information about current events from the newspaper. News outlets were on the frontlines to obtain, verify, and disemminate information about the goings-on in the world every morning and evening. As the world developed and TVs became commonplace in homes, the news became more accessible and it wasn’t long before the world began to see 24-hour news networks.

Once the internet became accessible in homes, more and more independent journalists and news sources were delivering directly to consumers. Today, we can get news updates on our phones, read articles as quickly as they’re released, and 24-hour news has become so normal that we’ve become desensitized to horrific tragedies because we see them constantly. However, due to the need for information and the desire to be the first to the story, the public suffered.

With major news networks competing against one another to be the first to cover a story and release information for ratings coupled with independent journalists’ desire to be the first to the story, we’ve seen too many instances of sources rushing to release information without verifying it. Fact finding and verification used to be the cornerstone of reporting because journalists not only wanted to have the big story, they also wante to get it right. They weren’t in a rush because the paper wouldn’t be out until the next morning or even a few days later so they had time to investigate. People weren’t receiving news 24/7, only once or twice per day. News networks and journalists put a lot of weight on their ability to provide well-written, accurate, and unbiased information which many news providers seem to have let go to the wayside.

With many news major news sources like CNN and Fox News publicly stating their political affiliations, it calls into question whether they have an agenda and whether their stories are factually accurate. Independent sources, whether publicly stating a political affiliation or agenda or not, must still be checked for accuracy as the media has control over much of the information we, the public, receive. Unfortunately, due to agendas, solely one news source cannot be relied on but must now be fact-checked still go through a verification and validation process by us, the consumers, because it’s now become a business and not a service.

The 2016 U.S. Presidental Election shed a great light on the biased reporting that has now taken over the primary news networks in the United States as well as the independent sources. When news sources publicly announce their political affiliations, their statistics, polls, and facts then come into question because they could be scewed. They could’ve gone to a group known to hold primarily liberal beliefs and ask them about who Americans are supporting in the election and have the results show 96-4 in favor of a democrat cadidate but the actual results when using a broader group show much different results, as we saw in CNN’s and Fox News’ reporting of political polls taken and having the polls and actual results vary greatly. Instances such as this have led to multiple outlets being labelled as distributors of propoganda as opposed to reputable news sources.

Before, you could trust your local newspaper to bring you accurate news. Now, you must triple check the facts listed because a major source may report it one way and many smaller sources may be citing that major source, leading to them reporting the story in a similar fashion. Many news sources now get their information from each other so if one is horribly wrong, many others probably will be as well and very few will take responsibility for their own lack of fact-checking.

Growing up, I loved looking at newspapers. I liked how the paper felt, how the ink smell hit my nostrils, and because it was literally a daily distribution of stories. Numerous authors contributed stories which were distributed to the public and consumed voluntarily. For a long time, I wanted to write for a newspaper. I wanted to write but I also wanted to write something I new people would read. I’ve done a little independent reporting on sports for letmebfrankblog.com, but maybe one day I’ll work part-time or freelance as a reporter. I just hope I’d be able to help journalism return to its trustworthy roots.

What do you think of modern-day journalism? Do you think it’s too biased and untrustworthy or do you think newspapers and outlets do a good job of checking their facts? Do you think many outlets rush to be the first to report a story? Do you think working in journalism should require a degree in journalism or english or can that be something learned as a job? Comment below!

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