Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Journalism: A bust without trust

Nick Kairys

No matter how many centuries pass or how the future of journalism evolves to technology and the cultural ways of the people, there will always be one essential question.

"Whom can I trust?"

In their everyday lives, people are searching for information they can believe in. I don't know of anyone who would want to continually be lied to. With so many messages shared and decisions made on a daily basis, it's important to people that they get their facts right, so that others will listen when they speak or follow their actions.

These everyday people expect nothing less than the truth from where they get their news and information, see advertisements or read a report or release.

A recent situation relating to the significance of trust in the news occurred with one of the largest American news networks with a viewership of millions.

NBC's Nightly News anchor Brian Williams recently admitted he had misrepresented his coverage of the war in Iraq in 2003. Williams reportedly falsified parts of his experience of being on a helicopter that was struck by enemy fire.

Following a six month suspension, Williams was demoted from his role on the Nightly News to reporting breaking news for MSNBC, a position which poses a massive decrease in primetime camera exposure.

Williams not only lost the trust of many viewers, he also lost the respect of multiple colleagues.

Respect is another fundamental aspect of journalism. Organizations are valued by their transparency. The public wants to know how things are being run within a business, who the sources are and if they have biased views.

A news site that seems to strive to answer the many questions of the public, give them what they want and do it professionally is Bleacher Report.

Originating from a group of college students writing juicy sports stories posed as clickable content, Bleacher Report has turned into one of the mainstream devices for sports fans to look for information.

The company made a major turnaround after being bought by Turner Broadcasting and shifted from amateur blogging to hiring professional writers to push out loads of content each and every day.

The transparency of the articles on Bleacher Report is evident as soon as the reader clicks on the link. There are videos from multiple media apps, images and Twitter posts from credible sources, links to player/management profiles and credit given to other news sites that broke the story first.

Bleacher Report is climbing in the ranks of sports providers with a mixture of irresistible, clickable content and professed major sports information.

Community is also a large guiding principle in the evolution of journalism. This concept is easily demonstrated through the recent Twitter industry boom.

It's easier than ever for the public to see whom they are getting their news from. A simple verification checkmark on a Twitter profile is the fastest way for most viewers to believe whether a source is credible or not.

Twitter also provides people with information they otherwise would have a difficult time finding for themselves. Instead of reading through an article with 600 words, followers understand they can look at a post with a maximum of 140 characters.

With Twitter, the public can now react with journalists from their homes or on the go in a matter of seconds, sparking interpersonal communication and creating a community of others who want to voice their opinion or ask a question.

An example of this is evident from Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and his Twitter post below.

Courtesy of Twitter from the posts of Mark Kaboly

We live in a world where the people want information right away and in the palms of their hands. This, however, does not mean journalists can take a break from producing trustworthy and credible content.

If anything, it's more important than ever.

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