Real journalism refers to the practice of gathering, verifying, and reporting news and information in an accurate and unbiased manner. It is essential to a healthy democracy, providing citizens with the data they need to make informed decisions while holding those in power accountable.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, the concept of real journalism has come under threat. The rise of fake news and propaganda has made it more difficult for people to discern what is truth and what is not; it has led to a deep decline in trust in the media and a decrease in the overall quality of journalism. Despite these challenges, it is crucial to recognise that the truth still matters. Accurate and reliable journalism is essential to keep the public informed and hold those in power accountable. Without it, we risk being misinformed and manipulated, and we may lose sight of the issues that are most important to us.
Fake news refers to false or misleading data or information that is presented as if it were real news. It can take many forms, such as fabricated stories, conspiracy theories, or biased reporting. Fake news can be spread through social media, online platforms, mainstream media and alternative media and it can be hard to distinguish it from real news. Conversely, propaganda uses biased or misleading information to promote a particular political agenda. It can be spread easily through various media, such as television, radio, or print, and governments or other influential organisations often use it to influence public opinion and shape public policy.
The rise of fake news and propaganda has significantly affected our society and democracy. It can erode trust in the mainstream media and make it more difficult for people to make informed decisions. It can also sow confusion and division, as people may believe and spread false or misleading information. Furthermore, fake news and propaganda can be used to manipulate public opinion and shape political outcomes. These manipulations can undermine the integrity of democratic processes and erode the principles of free and fair elections. In extreme cases, it can even contribute to the breakdown of social and political order.
There has been a significant decline in trust in the media in recent years. According to Pew Research Center study, “only about half of Americans trust the media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” This decline represents a significant drop from previous decades when trust in the media was much higher.
There are several reasons for the unfortunate decline in trust in mainstream media.
- Political bias: One of the main reasons for the fall in trust in the media is perceived political bias. Many people feel that the media is not impartial and that the political beliefs of the journalists and the media organisations influence the news.
- Spread of misinformation: The rise of the internet and social media has made it effortless for misinformation to spread, leading to a lack of trust in the media. People may be unable to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources, which can lead to confusion and mistrust.
- The credibility of sources: The traditional media relies on a small number of sources for information and news, which can make it difficult for the public to verify the accuracy and credibility of the information being presented.
- Financial pressures: The decline in traditional revenue sources, such as print advertising and subscriptions, has led to financial pressures on media organisations. These pressures can lead to cutbacks in staff and resources, impacting the quality and accuracy of the reported news.
- Celebrity culture: The rise of celebrity culture has led to a focus on sensational and trivial news at the expense of more critical issues.
- Social media echo chambers: Social media platforms are designed to show users content that aligns with their existing beliefs and views. These algorithms can create echo chambers where people become biased as they are only exposed to a limited range of opinions and perspectives, which unfortunately in turn, can lead to a lack of understanding and mistrust of opposing viewpoints, further negatively impacting our trust in mainstream media as a whole.
- Use of clickbait headlines: Some media organisations may use sensational or misleading headlines to attract readers and increase website traffic for financial rewards. Unfortunately, some mainstream media organisations are more concerned with generating clicks than providing accurate and credible information.
- Lack of transparency and accountability: Some media organisations may need to be more transparent about their funding sources, ownership, and editorial processes. This lack of transparency, in some cases, can lead to suspicions about the motivations and biases of the media organisation and erode trust in the media.
- The decline of local news: With the fall of local newspapers and news stations, many communities are losing access to news and information about local issues. Without a strong local media presence, people may feel less informed about their communities, leading to a decline in trust in the media.
The truth is of central importance in journalism. Adverse consequences are sure to follow when the media fails to report the fact or when they are biased or misleading. It can erode trust in the media and make it more difficult for people to make informed decisions. It can also contribute to social and political divisions, as people may believe and spread false or misleading information.
Furthermore, a lack of accurate and reliable journalism can have serious consequences for democracy. It can sabotage the integrity of the political proceedings and make it more difficult for people to hold those in power accountable. It can also make it harder for people to have informed debates and discussions about important issues. Overall, the truth is crucial to the integrity and effectiveness of journalism, and it is essential for a healthy and functioning democracy.
The rise of alternative media and journalism
A variety of factors, including the increasing distrust of traditional media and the proliferation of new digital technologies, have driven the rise of alternative media. Alternative media includes a wide range of sources, such as independent news websites, blogs, podcasts, and social media platforms. These sources often focus on niche topics or provide a different perspective than what is typically found in mainstream media.
The appeal of alternative media is that it is often seen as more authentic, diverse, and independent than traditional media. It can give a voice to underrepresented communities and provide a platform for alternative viewpoints that mainstream media may ignore. Additionally, alternative media sources often have a more engaged and interactive audience, which can foster a sense of community and belonging.
Another critical aspect of the appeal of alternative media is that it can be more accessible for people in terms of cost and format. Many alternative media sources are free to access. Furthermore, they are available in various forms, such as podcasts, videos, and social media posts, which can make them more appealing to a broader audience.
Additionally, as alternative media is often digital, it can be acquired from anywhere, at any time, which can be especially appealing for those who cannot access traditional forms of media or are looking for news and information on the go.
The rise of alternative media has also brought more diversity of voices and opinions to the public sphere, which can lead to more informed and nuanced discussions and debates. This diversity can be a powerful tool for democracy as it allows more people to be informed, participate and engage in public discourse.
There is a need for a renewed commitment to real journalism in today’s world. With the escalation of fake news and propaganda, the decline in trust in the mainstream media, and the pressure on journalists to produce content quickly and cheaply, supporting and valuing accurate and reliable journalism is more important than ever.
Support media outlets and journalists committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism, which means being critical consumers of media and seeking out accurate and reliable sources of information. It also means supporting these media outlets or journalists, whether mainstream or alternative media, through donations or subscriptions if you enjoy the content. In a civilised society, it is important to be able to hear more than one perspective on a topic and appreciate the emergence of alternative media championing the good fight.
Furthermore, it would help if you support policies and initiatives that promote media literacy and that help to ensure that journalism can thrive in the digital age. Ultimately, the health and vitality of democracy depend on the availability of accurate and reliable information, and this is what real journalism means. By supporting and valuing objective journalism, we can create a more informed and engaged citizenry, and we can ensure that those in power are held accountable for their actions. Thank you for coming this far. You may also like our blog on Coinbase Know Your Customer (KYC) Verification Process Has A Major Problem