Industry Trends

A recent trend has seen the public prefer to receive their news from a “biased” media source. As a result, journalists are playing less of a role in reporting the news, tailoring to their viewers and letting them decide what they should report on.

If you compare the least-trusted news networks with the most-watched cable news networks, you can see that MSNBC and Fox News are found towards the top of both lists. The big problem is that news programs are only reciting news and not contextualizing it, which is leading to an “uninformed public.” This was largely seen during the 2012 Presidential Election, which was one of the most negative elections recorded by the Pew Research Center.

This creates the dilemma of what journalists should do. Should they stick to the principles of journalism or tailor information to their viewers?

To view the whole presentation, click here.

Note: This assignment was completed for my Journalism 405: Study of News: The Newspaper Apprenticeship class.

“The Media”

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.

Fox News: Unfair and Unbalanced

“The Fox Nation is committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse, and fair and balanced coverage of the news.” After reading the mission statement of Fox News, it would be easy to assume that the news organization is extremely devoted to ethics of journalism. However, Fox News has endured widespread criticism due to their negligence of The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. The code is widely recognized as the main principles that journalists should follow, and states that journalists should “Seek Truth and Report It,” “Minimize Harm,” “Act Independently,” and “Be accountable.”

To read the entire audit, click here.

Note: This assignment was completed for my Journalism 439: Ethics and the News Media class.