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Friday, September 25, 2020

There are no “alternatives” to Journalism

Congratulations. You have stumbled upon a column written by a journalist who is bound by an ethical code of conduct and integrity.

So, what does this mean?

Journalistic integrity dictates that a journalist’s’ reporting be accurate, fair, balanced, accountable, independent and severed of conflicts of interest, according to the Society of Professional Journalists.

But, let’s take a step back for a moment. I want to be clear about journalism in the modern era. There is a misconception that journalism is the foundation of democracy. I disagree with this view.

The cornerstone of a democracy is a free press.

In other words, this does not mean that everyone who engages in a free press is going to be ethical or maintain standards in relation to unbiased factual gathering and presentation of fact.

The First Amendment of the Constitution protects the utterance of hate speech just as it does the publishing of scholarly articles.

In reality, the media is not laid out like a menu from a fast food restaurant where there are only a few synthetic items on the menu to choose from.

Rather, the menu of the media is infinite and what arrives on one’s plate is of one’s own choosing.

Over half of Americans report they don’t trust the media, according to an article by Huffington Post.

However, in a study by the Media Insight Project, 85 percent of Americans say they value accuracy above all else when evaluating a news source.

If this is the case then consumers must start putting their money and support towards the kind of media outlets they want.

A subscription to the Los Angeles Times is a little over $10 dollars a month. The average amount of money American’s will spend on coffee annually is $1,092, according to USA Today.

Assuming that integrity in the news is important to the public, it shouldn’t be hard to weed out the frivolous expenditures incurred throughout the year and place them toward organizations that have proven to be trustworthy.

We must decide whether we value organizations like Breitbart who regularly publish inaccurate and heavily biased articles – or – organizations that hold themselves to a standard of journalistic ethics like the New York Times.

I urge you to throw your weight into the ladder and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The media is not perfect; however, we are the first line of defense when it comes to dissecting falsehoods and keeping the public informed of the world around them.

Despite the effort of thousands of journalists around the world who work tirelessly in pursuit of the truth, ‘fake news’ is on the rise while an investment in ‘real news’ is on a steep decline.

Do not allow people like Milo Yiannopoulos to create your news feed.

Let the fear of ‘fake news’ drive the need for media defined by journalistic integrity.

By pulling support from such individuals and organizations they will not continue to gain merit.
While it is easy to be sucked into your own biases or the shock value of a headline in an age of endless social media feeds, remember accurate, fair, and balanced information matters.

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