Monday, September 19, 2016

Journalists Are Sacrificing Truth For Clicks

By Ciara Sebecke

It almost seems like today, no one on the internet can be trusted. Anyone can say whatever they want, with little to no repercussions for lying. Unfortunately, journalists are not always above this moral breech. Journalists today are not trusted by the public—for example, one study found that only 25% of people trust journalists. Journalists made it into the top 5 least trusted professions, right above real estate agents, government ministers, and politicians.

 Why Isn’t the Media Telling us the Truth?

The truth of it is (no pun intended) that in the digital age, many publications seem to prioritize clicks and urgency over good old objective and honest news. It is much easier to add an edit or a note to your story a day or a month later than to just make sure you have your facts straight when it gets published. Editing stories once their off the press is a luxury that only comes with online journalism, and many times it gets taken advantage of.

On the bright side, it does seem like many publications are working to gain back the public’s trust. Even BuzzFeed, the internet king of pointless quizzes and listicles, is making a valiant effort to produce more truthful news. In the past, the online giant has had a reputation for valuing quantity over quality, but that is now changing. People are starting to rely more on BuzzFeed for actual news, so they are taking fact checking a lot more seriously.


News Is a Race

Many times, publications sacrifice fact checking efforts to get news out more quickly. The immediacy of the internet creates an expectation for journalists to come out with a breaking news story the second something happens. This puts the pressure on for journalists and, many times, whoever comes out with a story first. wins.

Unfortunately, this often means that organizations have to cut back on fact checking and copy editing to get content out faster. This creates a lot of confusion in the public and a lot of false news stories from a story getting published about Kim Jong-un feeding his uncle to dogs, to a woman who supposed got breast implants and gave herself an extra boob.

In conclusion, journalists should always tell the truth. or at least make an effort to validate their stories. There is definitely a sweet spot between perfectionism and sloppy fact checking- journalists just have to find it. The public is demanding more truth from the media, and journalists are making an effort to meet that demand. 

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