There’s no question about it: Journalism as we know it is dying. Newsrooms are shrinking, jobs are being cut and journalists are reconsidering their careers. Holding this paper in your hands right now is a miracle in itself.
Entire newspapers have been shut down because of decreased revenue. The U-T San Diego has faced a severe decline in readership since 2006. While technology has spurred tremendous advances in science and healthcare, it continues to destroy the foundation of newspapers.
By relegating journalism from newspapers to online blogs and pop-up periodicals, we’re losing the credibility and ethic integrity associated with professional publications. It’s becoming increasingly common for consumers to get their news from blogs written by people with no journalistic training. Such articles are not always terrible, but it takes training to produce factual, unbiased news.
Thanks to the Internet, anyone can write a blog, but this doesn’t mean anyone can be a journalist. Sites such as Patch.com and Topix.com depend on a plethora of volunteer authors to produce content and, in most cases, this content isn’t edited by anyone.
Links may be given to support a claim, but without proper editorial review, there’s no guarantee- ing the source is trustworthy. Newspaper journalists rely on their editors and their training toprovide accurate information to the public.
With the loss of regulated newsrooms comes a lack of filters. Before an article is pub- lished in a professional publication, it goes through various levels of editorial scrutiny to ensure proper grammar and spelling. Print writers are held to a certain standard of objectivity in order to maintain credibility, which is crucial to the success of anypublication. Many bloggers don’t give review, fact-check or edit what they write and as a result, the journalistic method becomes lost.
When a statement is printed, it is permanent; there is no “delete” button. Anything published inaccurately requires an official retraction, often accompanied by a public apology. Even if the mistake is corrected, the damage has already been done. The newspaper’s reputation is at risk of being tarnished. Therefore, it’s a huge incentive for print journalism to verify that all facts are accurate. Without proper research, facts can easily become twisted and mangled beyond recognition.
Bloggers have it easy. They can hide behind fancy usernames, spewing endless “I-Googled-this-so-it’s-right” knowledge while hiding behind the veil of online anonymity without shame.
In the worst case scenario, a blogger could simply start a new blog under a different persona. Print writers put their name and reputation on the line every time they publish a single word. As a result, they develop a stricter code of ethics in regards to the truth and journalistic objectivity. Verification becomes the most important tool in their arsenal.
We are losing our expectations of professionalism in the reporting of news, and journalists won’t be the only ones who suffer. We need to take a stand against the collapse of competence. We are educated individu- als deserving of proper information of any subject. We make subjective decisions every single day about where we get our news. When we do so, we are deciding the future of journalism.
Every time you choose a hastily written blog instead of a newspaper, you hurt the paper’s ability to continue printing. And if we don’t make the conscious decision to support local print publications everyone will pay the high cost of cheap news.