Saturday, December 9, 2017
Transparency and the Modern Day Journalist
Since the beginning of journalism, the core values have remained the same. Journalists must remain honest, truthful, and transparent. This being said, as time has gone on and technology developed, these core values are being presented through new, alternative outlets.
In their book the New Ethics of Journalism, editors Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel state that, “while acknowledging that getting the facts right remains journalism’s core function – and that includes trying to get at ‘the truth about the fact’, as the Hutchins Commission put it in 1947 – much of how we discern and articulate the truth is changing.”
Though the end results remain the same, the means of obtaining and interpreting those results has drastically changed. More voices, more materials, and more platforms are flooding the brain of the modern consumer. Before the 21st century just two channels, print and television, dominated news. Through these two channels money could be generated through advertising and independence was established. Because news was generated from a distance, the public consumer rarely questioned the transparency of the news they were receiving. That has all changed.
Below is a video of Tom Rosenstiel’s Tedx Talk on the future of Journalism.
The New Truth
In today’s media landscape, the flow of communication flows so much more than one way. Instead of the consumer simply receiving and interpreting news, new outlets allow for the consumer to easily question the information they are receiving. Social media, forums, and the overall digital movement has made for a more open interpretation of news information by the general public. This adaptation has put more pressure on independent news organizations to emphasize the transparency of their news. The sources they use, information they publish, and evidence included in reporting can all be questioned immediately. Credibility has become a cornerstone of the public’s demand for their news.
Is This Good or Bad?
Deciding if this new stage of journalism is positive or negative is an opinionated question, but evidence suggests that this movement is one of progression. As previously stated, the foundation of journalism was to administer the truth in an honest and transparent manner to the public. Through these new forms of communication, the public has garnered more power as critics of the news they receive.
The modern public is no longer just on the receiving end of their news. Now, they are a part of it. New platforms of communication have made for an entire new community filled with reporters and the public. Social media allows the public to question, comment, share, and explore the news they receive immediately. This new community aspect, if utilized correctly, can help to create a positive relationship between reporters and the public.
What Should Journalists Do?
The modern day journalist should have one main priority in response to this new era of reporting. Transparency. Transparency is the utmost of importance when serving the truth to this new public. It is important for journalists to put themselves in the shoes of the public they are serving, question themselves, and seek out every opportunity possible they can to be transparent with the public.
For more of Rosenstiel’s thoughts on the future of journalism, feel free to read his Washington Post article “Five myths about the future of journalism”