Evangeline Colarossi—Staff Writer
People crack open a fictional novel when they want something exciting to read. They know what they are reading is not always real. When people look at newspapers, they want to think what they are reading is the truth. But in a time when everyone can be a reporter, who can be trusted?
With the use of the internet, it has become a lot easier for anyone to share news. This can be helpful and dangerous. It may be nice to share news of family or an event, but it can also portray reporters as biased and untrustworthy.
The ability to share anything as “news” has degraded the news industry. Someone who earned a degree in journalism can have their truest articles overlooked while a blogger can post something and have it shared by thousands. Anyone can share the news online, given a social media platform. They can write their own articles, share their opinions, and include as much or as little research as they want.
When reading an article, not every news consumer is thinking about the truth of the piece. If people do not know the validity of the author they are reading, why should they accept that the news to which we are exposed is the full truth?
For journalists, it is not only their job but their obligation to share the truth with people. They are meant to hold powerful people accountable and keep the people aware of what is being done in their society.
This means that yes, the news will not always be cheery and have front-page articles about the kind acts that are being done in the world. This also means that people should not have to thumb through a newspaper wondering if the same articles could be in a tabloid.
According to a survey completed by Media Insights Project, only 17% of the public agree that the news media is accurate. An opinion-based blog is not the same as an article that a journalist thoroughly researched and wrote. Americans have freedom of speech, which—for better or worse—means they can write whatever they want, researched or not. Still, the people deserve to know if what they read is accurate and trustworthy.
Good journalists are willing to expose the truth, even if no one wants to hear it. They are skeptical enough about things to fully research a topic before publishing. A good journalist should take an issue and drag a fine-tooth comb through it, searching for any tangles that could affect the truth. But as flawed humans, not every journalist will do so.
Yes, there are reasons to disregard the accuracy of the news. And yes, there are reasons to trust that what is published in a paper has been researched and written about truthfully. In the end, it is up to the reader to decide if their source for news is one in which they can place trust.