Journalists are responsible for presenting news before the public. Every society has a news channel or medium with which they have access to information and news of the human community in either a local or a global manner. It enhances connectivity and guides people to take the right measures and have opinions on whatever is happening in the world.
Interested in being a journalist and thinking of doing MA journalism? In this article, we will explore the key elements of journalism. Read on.
It’s an obligation to truth
Journalism helps people have a collective knowledge about their society that helps them to make good decisions. Good decisions can only be made when people have access to reliable and credible information that is put in a meaningful context. Journalism’s first principle is its obligation to the truth. That truth does not mean truth in a philosophical sense but in context to the world we live in. Journalistic truth is rather a process that depends on investigation and verification of facts. Because it has a great impact on how people come to decisions on the basis of news, it is extremely important that journalists are responsible people and they do their job in a fair and unbiased way. Their obligation to truth is greater than everything else. To achieve that, journalists must be transparent about their sources as well as their methods before the audiences so that they can assess the information in their own way. Context, comment, criticism, and interpretation follow the method of journalism.
Loyalty to the citizens
Journalism is believed to be an independent institution in itself that is key in functioning democracies. As such, journalism’s loyalty belongs to the people who depend on them for reliable and authentic news. This gave birth to the term ‘journalistic independence’. For example, when a news source is giving out reviews and information about a restaurant, people should know that it is not the same restaurant that is placing an ad on the same paper. Due to this reason, it is mandated that journalists must have strong ethical principles upon which they need to act. This also means that they need to be fair while representing people. By leaving aside some people of the society, journalists cannot afford to disenfranchise them. There needs to be a fair representation of all classes and societies.
Verification of information
The whole profession of journalism relies on the discipline of verifying information. There is no standardized code but there is an objective process or method of assessing and testing information. Being neutral is not a core principle of journalism. The methods of journalism follow objectivity, not the journalist. The journalist has to reach a decision and therefore cannot be neutral. Journalism is a disciple that sets it apart from other communications or platforms — advertisement, propaganda, fiction, or entertainment, etc. A transparent approach to gathering evidence ensures that personal or cultural biases do not undermine the accuracy of news.
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