The importance of news is so great that it is sometimes used in place of religion. (John Milton’s quote “The life of the world is a battle fought in the newspapers”) Unfortunately the importance of news has sometimes led to its suppression. (The recent Arab Spring)
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of war and conflict, and where major conflicts are playing out in several countries at once, the value of news selection is under serious discussion. While the media should indeed inform the public, there are limits to that responsibility. It is not enough that journalists be imparting news; they must also have some ability to use their knowledge appropriately. In order to fulfill their role as journalists, they must have an understanding of both news selection and news ethics. In this article I will look closely at both.
A major part of becoming a journalist is the commitment to quality journalism. All journalists are expected to adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, whether they are reporting live from the field or just taking a snap photo at the scene. Reporters should treat sources with respect and ensure that the information provided is as accurate as possible. This applies to both print and broadcast media. The extent of a news organisation’s willingness to adhere to these standards can have a profound impact on the success they have in providing a trusted and reliable service to their consumers, and therefore to the overall economy.
Despite the belief of some people, the power elite do not need the media for their PR campaigns. The power elite exists to serve the public good, and they need all the help they can get. If journalists are seen as merely stenographers for the powerful, then the public will lose faith in the media altogether. As news becomes manipulated for the will of the powerful rather than the truth, the public will naturally lose faith in the media, and news will become even more important to them. The only way to retain their faith in the media is to ensure that all journalists act in the public’s best interests.
One of the trends that has emerged over the last few years is that journalists have started to focus more on content analysis more than ever before. This has been a result of the belief that the old model of reporting, where the reporter would rely almost entirely on interviews and research, was no longer working effectively. Now it is thought that the new model of news gathering which is focused on using quantitative data such as surveys and questionnaires and then using statistical analysis to support the stories, is working better than ever.
As social media continues to grow in popularity, it also increases the need for news organisations to find ways to get their stories concerning both good and bad news out there before their competitors can. However, it is not always easy for news organisations to find ways to get their stories out there without completely alienating the public. A new study by two academics at the University of California – Los Angeles and the George Warren School of Public Health has suggested that this problem is likely to only increase over the coming years. In order to remain relevant in the eyes of the public they must be willing to do more than simply report the news; they must know how to interpret it and be able to interpret it in a way that is acceptable to the public and in line with their own news values.