Journalism and breaking news, wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust them?
But we’re a only a month into 2014 and already the mainstream media have displayed that they cannot be trusted to report without bias or to give any context for the events they report on.
The graphic above is a pretty handy guide to breaking news, the kind that comes with flashing graphics and alarmed tweets when no one really knows what happened yet but everyone is willing to repeat what the last person said.
Other points to consider:
Where is this happening?
Who are the groups involved?
Has this happened before?
Who stands to gain the most from this situation? (Extra important: always follow the money)
Mass media influences our understanding of the world in ways that it is difficult to be conscious of but it is always worth trying. When forming an opinion, try to be certain that it is in fact your opinion and not one you’ve simply absorb through cultural osmosis.
Good luck consuming your media responsibly this year!
“Thou shall not think having a blog makes you a journalist” – Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
That’s an important thing to remember. It’s something remind myself if I get to big headed. But then again, I would also argue that having a big corporate contract doesn’t necessarily make you a journalist either. I haven’t seen anyone I’d call a journalist on FOX News or writing for The Daily Mail any time recently and yet all these news outlets pull greater respect than online news-breakers, with twitter and blogs.
Press credentials are not the necessity they once were and neither is working for a big media company or ever having your name in paper and ink print.
Modern social media has blurred the lines between the people telling and making the news and those who consume it. This has led to a lot of regurgitation of news stories from one agency to another but it also opens up the possibilities of looking at breaking news from several perspectives. Podcasts have taken the place of political talk radio for much of the younger generation. Shows like Citizen Radio, because they are produced by the hosts they have the freedom to push more boundaries than many in more traditional medias.
Twitter in recents years has been particularly influential in breaking stories and live updating as events unfold. The bombing of the Boston marathon and the subsequent confusion and manhunt saw Twitter really rise to the forefront of the news with Twitter-focused news outlets like Anonymous’ @YourAnonNews being an hour ahead of CNN or FOX for most of the night.
But expediency does not a journalist make either. The speed information can travel has increased dramatically but ultimately it is still the job of journalists to examine information in its context and supply considered analysis. Which is a challenge we here at Global Echo hope to undertake.
So perhaps journalists in the modern world are not defined by their credentials or their medium but rather the quality of their work.
Our world is still as huge and diverse as ever but the information age has made it seem smaller. This is a challenge, to avoid homogenous reporting, but also an opportunity to engage with a wider and more diverse audience than ever.