It seems today that every time you hear the general public talk about “The Media,” it’s always in a negative context. However, these negatives impressions of the news industry are only sometimes justified.
When I hear people talking about “The Media,” I feel that they are referring to anybody that is involved in the journalism industry, which includes reporters, TV news anchors, photojournalists, columnists and meteorologists, among others. My definition for “The Media,” would be anybody whose role is to provide the general public with newsworthy information in a journalistic fashion. A journalistic fashion means providing news that is unbiased and sticks to the principles of journalism. Whether it is details on a new restaurant that is opening, the score of a sporting event or the results of the presidential election, if the public has a right to know, it is “The Media’s” role to provide them with that information.
Impressions of “The Media,” are usually determined by accuracy. With media relying on programs like twitter to break news at a second’s notice, there has been less reliance on accuracy in lieu of timeliness. Journalists and news entities are publishing reports in an attempt to get them out before their competitors, while they should be double-checking their sources. This was evident a few nights ago during Wendy Davis’ attempted filibuster of the Texas Senate Bill 5, as all the major media markets were reporting different accounts of what happened. Associated Press and Fox News both reported that the bill had passed, NBC News reported that its status was in doubt and CNN basically said that they had no idea what was going on. At around 3 a.m. local time, the senate announced that the bill had not passed, meaning AP and Fox News both misreported the news. If a news entity misreports the news, it’s more than okay for a viewer to question their credibility.
Impressions of “The Media,” are also determined by viewers’ opinions. Nowadays, if somebody disagrees with a news story, they automatically denounce the reporters as being biased. It also should be noted that in recent years, viewers would rather receive their news from a biased news company, as Fox News and MSNBC are always two of the most-watched TV news productions. It is unreasonable to condemn news entities for this reason, as viewers are getting their personal agendas in the way of correct reporting.
What the public should know about “The Media,” is that the majority of journalists devote their careers to their viewers. While there are exceptions, the industry prides itself on delivering newsworthy information to the general public. Also, misreporting is natural human error, and as long as a journalist takes accountability for their actions, they should not be stigmatized for their mistakes. From the beginning of journalism classes, we are taught that a journalist’s first obligation is to the truth. Personally, that advice has stuck with me and is always in the back of my head with every decision I make. The biggest thing that we can do as journalists is be as open, honest and accessible as possible, because it will create trust and credibility with our audience.
While “The Media,” gets more attention for mistakes than successes, journalists need to focus on their main goal, which is to provide the general public with newsworthy information.
Note: This assignment was completed for my Journalism 405: Study of News: The Newspaper Apprenticeship class.