Do journalists also have the mission to educate people and tell them about what matters?
Think about it: today's strategy is all about giving the audience what the audience wants. Whatever turns out to be popular among viewers/listeners/readers will be the media fashion of the moment. Look at the new era which started on television with the beginning of Big Brother-style like contests. Think about how lighter the news have become, how they focus so much on what sells and not on what matters (how many international news pieces appear on your top serious national paper?)
Aren't journalists giving in to populism and sensationalism when in fact we should be reporting on serious issues such as the impact of our governments' decisions to society? Shouldn't we be helping out people define what really is important to know and read about?
I'm not saying we should ignore altogether what people think should be reported, but I believe it is our job not to succumb to this pressure...
People are becoming very lazy in what comes to learning and researching but if we give in to that than eventually we will have to ask ourselves what the purpose of our job is.
In my opinion it is this tendency that is killing journalism, not new technologies. When we place sales above quality then there is no twitter, blog or podcast that can save good journalism.
It's not quite true. First, people want to know what happens. And if the journalist is at a place where important things happen, people interested in his honest narrative. Secondly people are interested in the opinion of experts that they respect for facts that they already know. If the journalist cover opinion of wise expert on any important event, people also likes it. Of course, what people likes most is the yellow news, but it should not interfere us.
During a lengthy discussion on the emerging new media back in November before the U.S. Federal Communication Commission a researcher talked about the loss of "stumbling onto news" that results from customized news. Today, people pick and choose their news via the Internet to the point they have little interest or desire in knowing anything else. In essence they are a la carte news consumers. The likelihood they will stumble across a story about an Indonesian earthquake is rare when they are fixated on celebrity gossip.
To your point, people are defining their own news interests. I don't think we can stop that. That horse is out of the barn. But, as a veteran journalist who know teaches college, I agree that sometimes people just don't know what it is they need to know. I see in it young, niche news readers.
I think we need to continue to write to educate, especially politics, economy, war, social issues. Because we've all been around long enough to know that if the press doesn't, the public will look up one day and blame us for not doing our jobs.
Reading this article and Kevin’s reply many thoughts come to my mind. Why is a problem that people read about celebrity gossip when maybe the problem is that journalists don't know how to reach their interests?
I can only speak about Spanish mass media, but it’s sad to see that news agencies and political parties’agendas set which are the interesting news. Editors and journalists don’t wonder if some news deserve to be on the first page and moreover, we find in every channel, site or newspaper the same information. There is too much fear to give different information.
Some blogs that analyse today’s news have many readers. I think that’s why they use a different language and give a different approach to the information. Bloggers sometimes reply to people’s opinions and use them as a source for new posts. Some news websites do the same, so interaction is important.
Journalists must continue doing our job, but we have forgotten which it is. I think we should stop making ‘chair journalism’ and search in the street; if our editor allows us, to call the sources; why not, using twitter, blogs, specialized media to get information. At least in Spain, journalism hasn’t landed in 2010.
I like Vicky's comment that journalists need to keep doing their job, but we seem to be forgetting what that is.
And, that goes back to Cintia's question: Is it to give the public what they want or what they should have? Sometimes it's both at once. But, when it's not, do we have the courage to say "you're not interested in this, but trust us, you should be and here's why?" I think that's what Vicky means by saying journalists need to keep doing their job.
I think Kevin sumed it all when he wrote the public should truts journos to let them know what is an important piece of news.
But somehow I think we have been shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to this trust because some of our coleagues don't take this responsibility seriously enough.
In my opinion, that happens when they focus more on what sells rather than on what matters. It is common to get people telling me off because of some news my fellow journalist colleagues reorted on: either because it was too sensationalist or because the facts hadn't been checked or because it wasn't accurate enough. And in these cases we only have ourselves to blame: journalists have been failing on their public over and over again by breaking this trust, by bringing them what in fact it is not important.
There are several reasons for this of course: poor journalism education, pressure from editors (who get pressured by the administration to sell as much as possible), bad management by people who were never journalists and don't understadn the job, etc...
I'm not syaing we should ignore what the public tells us or new language or technological trends. But I do believe if we give the public all they want then we will become entertainers; while if we tell the public to follow us on our judgment then we all (journos and public) can contribute to democracy (hmm... have I gone too far ideologically speaking with this one?)
I would be interested to know how you bring the whole business/payment perspective into this? Most news outlets need to sell, whether it is paper copies, airtime or advertising, and they do so on the back of their readership. I am afraid many news outlets nowadays do not have a choice whether to place public preference over quality, because they need to sell to survive. I wish journalists could play a bigger part in shaping public opinion and offering vital information to help the public understand what is really going on behind the scenes. I think that's what they should do in a perfect world. But I am afraid that as long as media organisations continue to struggle as they do at the moment many will have no other option than to follow the public preference for news.
We are journalists and working to aware people about important issues. We have to follow rules and regulations and ethics. In my opinion, when I write a report to publish on my newspaper, I off course follow jounros ethics, or the news will be not effective or baseless.
Th facts should be put on the news or article or it wasn't accurate enough.
But many journalists have been failing on their public over and over again by breaking this trust.
The interested investigator. Thats' my journalistic attitude. Far too often I note that radio- and tvjournalists tend to engage themselves on the side of the mistreated... I'm trained not to by voice, gestures, mimic 'body language' or otherwise communicate my own view on what ever the job is. I'm there to find the news and communicate facts to my audience so that THEY can form their own opinion. Not biased by my own standings.
Who should lead and who should follow. We must lead. We should be careful always setting the agenda. To give voice to people is important. Let them try themselves making reports from their own back yards. But let a pro editor put it together. We must always be professional.
Something technical. My opinion is there is only one technique necessary to understand. The technique of the sofa! Thats' where my audiences spend there lives. Born i sofas, dying in sofas. In between - watching what we and our colleagues do for a living. So let's study sofas and let the technicians bather about cameras and microphones and light. Of course - first you must learn and exercise with cameras, audio and lighting until you know it to perfection. Then - concentrate on the sofa! :-)
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