Is today’s news a truthful account of the day’s events? Is it a blatant attempt to guide the reader’s reaction to keep interests high? Or do entertainment corporations trying to make a profit overrun today’s news? Should there be certain standards of journalism in news today?To answer these questions, the reader must understand the definition of news. Jack Fuller best defines news as “a report of what a news organization has recently learned about matters of some significance or interest to the specific community that news organization serves.” Journalism in today’s news is not the same as it was over half a century ago.
The reader can see this in Jim Squires’ statement that journalism “even at its worst and most unfair once had as its goal a quest for accuracy and perspective that would eventually provide truth.” Whereas news, itself, is best defined best defined by the Hutchinson Commission on freedom of the pres in 1947 as a “truthful, comprehensive, and intelligent account of the day’s events in a context which gives them meaning.” So what has happened to journalism today?Journalism no longer seeks accuracy and fairness. There are many fallacies in the basis of today’s journalism. Journalism today has the tendency to try and persuade the reader’s reaction. It has become biased in this same sense. Journalism concentrates more on the negatives than the positives. It lacks the background information needed to better educate the reader making an opinion.
The entertainment industry has taken over control of some publications in order to influence readers and turn a profit. The reader’s opinion becomes swayed by the impact of these tendencies, as well as the writer’s own opinion of the situation stated in his/her report. One example of the fallacies in today’s news is the lack of background information given on the subject.
Very little background information is recorded, which in turn does not inform the reader enough to make an educated opinion. For example, if a journalist writes an article on how the pollution of Houston, Texas is worse today than it was twenty years ago, and fails to give details of how pollution was twenty years ago, how can the reader actually know that the pollution is worse today? Another case in point would be a journalist informing an audience that the U.S. declared war on Iraq today.
The only detail the journalist gives is the outcome of this declaration. The journalist does not give any information as to why the U.S. declared war, or what events might have led up to this. The reader might make a rash opinion because of the lack of background information.Another example that shows journalism no longer seeking accuracy and fairness is the bias in today’s news. Journalism is biased towards the interests of the reader. This bias causes the writer to record more negative events, such as someone’s tragic death, as opposed to something more positive, like a marriage or birth of a child.
Readers in today’s society are more interested in death and destruction than the more positive sides of life. Journalism is also biased towards the writer’s own opinion. This lets the writer sway the audience to feel the same way as he/she feels on the topic. An example of this would be the Rodney King issue. If the writer has a traditionally racist background, he/she probably agrees with the police action taken against Mr.
King. This might sway the audience to feel the same way as the writer.One final example of the shortcomings in today’s news is the intervention of “Big Business”. Major corporations in the entertainment business own many publications. One such publication is the New York Times, which is owned by Time Warner. Time Warner is an elite figure in the entertainment industry. Time Warner also owns the cable network TNN.
TNN airs a show called Monday Night Raw, which hosts the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and it’s wrestling matches. Suppose Time Warner wants to turn a larger profit from Monday Night Raw, Time Warner might have the New York Times print an article about the WWF. In this article there might be a lot of bias in which the journalist reports that Monday Night Raw is the greatest television show of all time. The reader’s of Time Magazine read this article and watch Monday Night Raw to see what all the hype is about. This in turn would increase profits because of the growing audience tuned to TNN to watch Monday Night Raw.
This is a key example of how “Big Business” capitalizes off the influencing of reader’s opinions.The above-mentioned examples clearly show how journalism no longer seeks accuracy and fairness. The reader should be able to form his/her own opinion regarding news. The audience should not be persuaded to have one view or another based on the lack of background information given, the bias in a writer’s own opinion, or in the interests of big business. News should not be any of these things.Jim Squires states that news should be a “truthful, comprehensive, and intelligent account of the day’s events in a context which gives them meaning.” This statement best defines what news today should be.
The perfect example of how to achieve this is The Golden Rule of journalism. The Golden Rule’s motto is treat people the same way you would want to be treated. Jack Fuller best exemplifies The Golden Rule by suggesting “that the reporter must try to put the case against his conclusions as forcefully as he would want an opponent to put the reporter’s own arguments.” The reporter must put his opinions aside and express other point of views with the same enthusiasm. The Golden Rule leads to another example of how news needs to be.Accuracy and fairness in news is a must. By accuracy and fairness, the reader can conclude that no reporter will falsify facts in an article in order to lead the reader to one opinion or another.
Jack Fuller shows how news might be inaccurate and unfair in his example of a report over a public debate. Fuller states that the journalist might “call all close factual issues for the weaker party or shade the way he put both sides’ arguments in order to give the weaker side a chance of persuading the audience.” The reader should be allowed to form his/her own opinion based on accurate and truthful accounts of the day’s events. These guidelines will help journalism return to its accurate and fair form of the past.