Newsworthiness: The media must return to the roots of a free press

  • Stevenson High School teacher and student newspaper adviser Dean Bradshaw, third row far right, with members of the 2016-17 Statesman newspaper staff.

    Stevenson High School teacher and student newspaper adviser Dean Bradshaw, third row far right, with members of the 2016-17 Statesman newspaper staff. Courtesy of Dean Bradshaw

 
By Dean Bradshaw
Stevenson High School teacher and student newspaper adviser
Posted10/5/2017 6:00 AM

Newsworthiness too often comes down to ratings and sales. Ratings- and sales-driven coverage has led to more echo chambers of hyper-partisanism, fast food empty calorie stories of celebrity scandals and tragic event saturation.

These trends have opened the door to more vocal media criticism and skepticism. The media can reverse this trend by coming back to the roots of a free press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

News must be timely but also timeless. While news has no friend or foe or agenda, it does have impact.

Regardless of flavor of the month celebrity or political point of view or even possible impact on sales, important stories present themselves by declaring their impact on humanity.

It is the job of the journalist to help a reader understand that impact.

A journalist does not interpret news but provides context for the events of the day. If the news is controversial, journalism doesn't just confirm what either side is expected to hear but uses research and balance to educate.

If the news is tragic, journalism doesn't just inform us of numbers but also tells us of the people behind those statistics.

Warren Buffett said "The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. (For) to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves -- and the better the teacher, the better the student body."

Furthering Mr. Buffett's analogy, ambitious students are curious and seek teachers who challenge their preconceptions.

Journalists need to reach for the highest standards of ethics with balance and thorough research. Readers need to do the same.

Journalism, like education, needs engagement of all parties.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.