As a journalist, our credibility is largely due to our sources and how accurate they can be. But in a technological age where anyone and everyone can be a journalist AND a news source, it is hard to decipher which sources are true and which are not.
A source that is true, and as a result accurate, would necessarily be one that is intent on showing the truth and ALL objective facts. This source should display little to no biases, give or take human error, (it is nearly impossible for a subjective human being to have zero biases) and should not be the voice of another entity.
So, as a journalist, when I look at all these possible news sources out there, whether it be the Toronto Star, or Al Jazeera or even Worldstarhiphop, I have to recognize the reason behind the video or article that is being shown. What is the purpose of showcasing this piece of news; to incite fear, sensationalism, create pandemic, cause a riot, what is it? Every news outlet, be it a newspaper, a blog, a magazine, a book, a website, a radio station, a television show, an app, or any of the other outlets that have yet to be born have an inherent hierarchy within them. This is as simple as saying that there are people on the top who ultimately control what journalists and writers can or cannot say.
This is by no means a knock on technology in saying that it has ‘diluted’ journalism. In fact, I strongly believe that the new era of digital journalists can bring about a whole level of accuracy that has never before been seen. In fact, you can see it now, fact checking has grown exponentially. Nowadays the comments section of YouTube videos are patrolled by fact checkers let alone the actual content itself. Creators will quickly be disregarded if the content they produce is mildly inaccurate. And God forbid someone make a stupid comment in the comments section or else a shit storm will ensue.
But technology and the internet are important. As journalists, we can use it to ensure that mainstream media is no longer a propaganda machine. We can lambast and heckle those major newspapers that spew out whatever their masters’ please. We can use technology to see if what mainstream media prints is accurate. We can decipher which corporations fund which news outlet and more importantly we have a free forum to tell the masses what is perpetually being hidden.
With reddit forums that showcase ALL the articles on one particular topic, it truly gives an informed reader ALL sides of the story and enables an informed reader to generate his or her own informed opinion. Too common are people’s viewpoints and world philosophies constituted of the images that are portrayed by mainstream media. It is time to show the world that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.