Is Journalism Black and White?
Gone are the days of the newspaper. There is no longer the need to put on your slippers and walk down the driveway to pick up your soggy paper. Information, news, and headlines are literally a click away. We have officially entered into the digital age. As Mark Cooper puts it, “The future is digital: text, not print; viral, not one-to-many; and, in critical ways, more global and less local.” Rather than looking at this changing phenomenon as the death of journalism, we must look at it with a glass-half-full mentality. The slow demise of the newspaper is not the extinction of journalism, but rather the beginning.
There has been an ongoing battle on whether or not to save newspapers. According to a nationwide poll conducted by Andrew Nachison, “67% of Americans believe journalism is out of touch with what people want from their news.” Yet many people still see the newspaper as a way to benefit society with honest information about important issues regarding public policy. But with the growth of the Internet and the formation of an overwhelming bologosphere, there really is a declining need for the black and white paper you hold in your hand. Digital journalism has been able to fill the substantial gaps in coverage that need to be filled.
POLIS Director Charlie Beckett states, “Journalism has never been more plentiful and of such high quality. There is more good quality information, analysis, and debate than ever before.” Quality journalism means taking into account both sides of the story. Having the ability to clearly see both is one of the digital age’s greatest advantages. People who can educate themselves are able to form their own opinions. With new technologies to do so, the opportunity for journalists has never been greater. Beckett says it perfectly: “There is more processing and broadcasting power in my iPhone than I had in a whole newsroom 10 years ago. The public want to help make news and media even more plentiful and productive – and they will do it for free.”
Personally, I am all for the new journalism. The connectedness and accessibility of digital journalism takes news to a whole new level. My only concern, however, lies within the integrity of what is being shared. The Freedom of Press act is a beautiful thing. It gives people the ability to share what they want, protected by their constitutional right. Sharing is great, but being mislead by uneducated and opinionated people is the downfall. I believe in digital journalism, but I also believe in good journalism. There is certainly a difference.
So now the question remains: what is good journalism? If everyone can write and anyone can go viral, how do we separate quality from entertainment? How do we separate facts from opinions? As with any news article, I believe that some bias remains and personal beliefs are imposed on the message. Bias is not the big issue here. What we desperately need are bloggers and journalists whom we can trust. In order to build that trust, we need to be ever conscious of what we put out there and take the time to make it quality. The Huffington Post believes good journalism begins with “a steady stream of output that readers find authoritative, correct, and useful.” If you want people to read what you have to say, the first step is building trust, and trust requires integrity. People will invest in journalism that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Video by FutureJProject