In the age of fake news and Brietbart Media it is beginning to seem like journalism doesn’t matter much anymore. Any person can write a blog, send out a tweet, or make a viral video. Journalistic integrity is an archaic notion; yet, as information runs rampant, it has never been more important.
Despite what many might think, people still read the news. But with so much choice at our fingertips, different people can read, and believe, adversary sets of facts.
We now have access to global news. And since we cannot be all over the world all of the time, nearly all of what we know has been mediated to us through someone else’s words.
It is the job of the journalist to mediate these facts to us in the most unbiased manner possible. It is the job of the journalist to give a voice to important issues and credible resources.
When media is money motivated it’s hard to push for stories with substance rather than flash. It’s hard to choose the long-term investigative story over the highly biased fluff piece.
Sensationalism is everywhere and it has invited many an irrational movement. Words are dangerous; context is critical.
We at Imprint fall into this trap too often. We choose the story with the best headline. We spend too much time revisiting stories that are emotionally evocative but have produced no new information. We spend too little time digging for the stories hiding beneath the surface.
It is vital now that we are all careful of what we read. Careful not to believe every headline we come across.
But we, the writers of those headlines, must be even more wary of what we choose to publish. We must be rigorous in assessing relevancy, erasing bias, verifying facts and sources.
We too must do better.