By Dylan R.N. Crabb
“Journalism is not supposed to be propaganda from politicians. Journalism is supposed to hold politicians accountable for what they say (Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, 2019).”
How can a news organization today (particularly a new organization) gain the trust of the public given the current over-saturation of the market? I think the key is transparency for themselves, each reporter/editor/producer must be willing to put their name in front of the public eye and stand up for their work in the face of criticism. Make sure that any one of your readers/viewers/listeners can approach you with questions if they so desire and accept criticism with grace; do not let praise inflate your ego. This is also just good advice in general – be honest with yourself about what you’re doing, try to be self-aware in what you do, and maintain an over-arching vision to guide your work.
It’s impossible to be completely objective simply because most humans orient themselves around their subjective feelings rather than logic and their objective surroundings but that doesn’t mean that we can not strive for objectivity for its own sake. Every human has the capacity for logical reasoning through critical thinking and discourse, it’s what makes our species so powerful in nature – we can come together around common goals and manipulate our environment in ways other animals can not. However; this attribute is a double-edged sword for, if we remain too long in one group with the same ideas in circulation over and over and over again, our minds become dull from ease and the group weakens with fatigue. To maintain a competitive edge, a group of humans must always be inviting to a variety of ideas, individuals must be willing to challenge themselves to sharpen their arguments. Echo chambers are dangerous.
This is exactly what modern media has become: an ecosystem of echo chambers. People on the political Right-wing have their own sources, people on the political Left-wing have their own sources, and more moderately-minded people don’t know where to go for sources so they try to read multiple sources from both sides of the spectrum (if they don’t opt out of politics altogether) all the while animosity for everyone else increases and politics becomes more and more tribal. Modernity is supposed to be more civilized than tribalism.
I think I’m digressing, let’s go back to the topic of modern news media. I think the key to success in news media is transparency which is why I want to list what I think is important to discuss when it comes to political engagement, government functions, and such:
- the role of a government relative to the society it presides over,
- hearing from a variety of perspectives regardless of popularity,
- clarifying differences between perspectives and taking care to NOT miss-represent one’s ideas.
I believe these to be important facets of news media – a result of my own beliefs in individualism, free speech, pluralism, government and corporate transparency, and democratic-republicanism. My goal with my writing (both my personal writing and professional writing) is to promote inquiry into how our societies operate, encourage more people to ask questions that some people in positions of power may not want to answer. I’ve written in the past about my belief in writing skills and their importance to civilization and I stand by that belief today.