Western Courier

There is a lack of trust in the journalism field

Steven Barnum, News editor

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It’s become increasingly frustrating to witness respect for journalists dwindle to what seems to be an all-time low.

With the transformation of how we get news thanks to the Internet, there is still a lot of adjusting to be made. I tend to get the vast majority of information from Twitter, Facebook and a few other sites online. In addition to the convenience factor, I’m able to get news more quickly and accurately online in a way that was never possible before.

But the negative side effect to this is that it’s even easier for people to spread misinformation. Most of us blindly believe anything that we read just because it’s online, which is dangerous and irrational. It’s great that we have a medium that informs us on a lot of important stories, but we should take everything with a grain of salt.

Clickbait seems to be difficult to escape with online journalism. Too many journalists focus on attracting us with eye-popping headlines, which is not going to earn my trust. I understand the need for your work to break through amidst the competition, but reporters should all be choosing accuracy over shock.

As our attention spans become shorter and shorter, the chances people read entire articles instead of just headlines is unlikely. This means that we often form opinions based on a very brief summary about an article that may not even be accurate.

As much as social media appears to be influencing our opinions, I still think that it happens just as much on cable news. I don’t watch a lot of news on TV because I find all of it to be one-sided. One of my favorite sayings is “There are two sides to every story and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle,” which should be the model for news.

Even without watching CNN and Fox News, I still feel that I am as informed as I need to be. Networks like those claim to be balanced, but they seem to show major bias toward certain issues and politicians that makes it difficult for me to respect them. I have a problem with news networks who seem to be more obsessed with the left vs. right world than simply telling us the truth.

Whether you watch the news or just read about it online, it’s troubling when so many people have a lack of faith in it. It seems like every outlet has an agenda or perspective that they are trying to shove through our ears. I am often influenced in some way by what I hear and I’m probably not alone.

Journalists can gain back the public’s respect in many different ways, but the most important way is by being as unbiased as they possibly can. Some won’t believe it either way, but it’s critical for them to be honest. And for those who are still reading this article, I hope that we can find trustworthy sources that prioritize informing us over giving us their spin

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
There is a lack of trust in the journalism field