Mona Zhang wrote an article on Thursday for Media Bistro called, “Newton to Journalists: Focusing on the Story Just Isn’t Enough Anymore”.
According to her article, the distrust of the media by Americans is at an all time high. She writes, “In the digital age, journalists are required to don different hats; from multimedia to social media, there is an increasing amount of tools available for telling the story and sharing it. Still, it may not be enough.”
Zhang also mentions that Eric Newton, the senior adviser to the president of the Knight Foundation, spoke at the Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting. Newton told the group of investigative reporters that just telling the story is not enough. Zhang says,
“…he [Newton] has spent his entire life worshiping the mantra, “The story is all that really matters.” Until now. “The story is not the only thing that matters,” he said. “A story by itself does not change the world. Someone must absorb it, share it, act on it and yes, even pay for it.” In order for stories to truly matter, he argues, news literacy is key, as is transparency, which can help facilitate dialogue and understanding within communities. “Sixty nine percent of America believes that if local newspapers no longer existed, it would be no big deal,” he said, which is why now, more than ever, journalists have an obligation not just to say, “Hey! Listen to this story!” but “Hey! This is why you should listen to this story!”
Newton, I believe is on to something. News literacy is a crucial part in today’s news industry. With so much information at our finger tips, most people have no idea how or where to begin gathering news. Many news consumers have no idea what the difference between propaganda, opinion and hard fact-based news truly looks like. I’ve said this in earlier posts, so many news organizations present information that is not truly news, as news. With this behavior becoming a growing trend, the news consumer hasn’t got a chance. Not to mention the impact of, yes I know…this again, social media. Information is at our very fingertips accessible twenty-four hours a day. Not just on the computer, but on our television screens, our tablets, and our mobile phones.
News consumers need the tools that news literacy provides. And now, it is the responsibility of journalists to give you the information you need, but also to inform you of the reasons why you should read the story and why it has relevance in your life.
Yes, as Zhang points out, we journalists wear many hats, and educating our news consumers about why they should read our stories, is just as important.
- Knight Foundation senior advisor receives Markoff award for investigative reporting fund (blogs.journalism.co.uk)
- CIR to launch investigative news channel on YouTube (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Americans on Environment News: We Want More! (motherjones.com)
- FAQ: Online journalism ethics, accuracy, transparency and objectivity (onlinejournalismblog.com)
- Getting the News – danah boyd (news.me)