Journalism is a sacred art. It is the only profession that is represented in the Bill of Rights; the first amendment clearly grants Americans “freedom of the press.” Nothing is more important than our right to be informed, however, in recent years, this right has been threatened, and not in the way that our founding fathers imagined.
The original enemy of our freedom of the press was government limitation. Put simply, colonists were not allowed to publish what they wanted to because Great Britain did not allow it. Today, the enemy of our sacred freedom of press is too much freedom within our “press”. Through twitter and other forms of social networking, anyone, especially celebrities, can post what they feel is newsworthy and reach millions of people. This change in the way that journalism is reported completely alters the public’s outlook on the news, and not in a good way.
Objective news sources of the past are no longer the norm, today, the modern American gets their “news” from unreputable journalists publishing uncited headlines in less than 140 characters. This subjectivity posted by these pseudo-journalists lacks the main aspects that audiences have come to expect with traditional news: ethics and reliability. This is why traditional news will not be replaced by microblogging and social networking. These sources are simply unreliable and unethical.
The unreliability of social-networking news stems from the fact that these online journalists are anything but real journalists. Real journalists study journalism and their work is reviewed and edited before it is published. The journalists who haphazardly post news online simply publish whatever will be most popular, regardless of accuracy. There is nobody to fact-check their publications and there is nobody to apologize for incorrect information. With large, trustworthy media conglomerates, information is always checked for accuracy before it is posted, and false information and data is always recanted as soon as possible. This is because these traditional media outlets feel as though they have a moral obligation to actually inform the audience with the entire truth.
A reader should not be put in a situation where they are questioning the credibility of an author, nor should they have to wonder if the news story was written professionally. However, with some contemporary news sources, these concerns arise. This is not only unfair to the reader, but it is unfair to the real journalists. The posting of unreliable information and branding it as “news” corrupts the sacred art of journalism. The skepticism created by these insufficient excuses for journalists ruins the foundation on which the media-audience relation was formed: trust.
After all, why should a reader trust anonymous bloggers or celebrities? What have they done to deserve the title of “journalist”? The answer is simple, these people posting the newest version of news have done nothing. They have no credibility as journalists and they do not deserve the trust of an audience.
Just like MySpace and grunge culture, the all-too-common practice of receiving news through social media will be a thing of the past. Americans will soon realize, if they haven’t already, that the best news is traditional news. Granted, things have changed. Traditional news does not necessarily need to be in print or on a major TV network. News from large corporations will keep up with technology today and is available on the internet, just like social media. The main difference between outsourced news and mainstream, professional news outlets is the reliability of the articles and information.The average American will soon come to the conclusion that if it’s not from a trustworthy source, it simply cannot be trusted. In time, the idea of social networking news will be obsolete, giving way to the traditional sources of news that we all know and love.