I’m a little bit ambivalent towards the future of journalism. For an industry and an art that has so much potential due in large part to the wealth of technology at journalists’ disposal, there has been a mishandling of this valuable tool.
Just take a look back at some of the major reporting blunders in some of the most important stories in recent memory.
Rep. Gabby Giffords was pronounced dead when she really wasn’t, the brother of the eventually accused shooter in Newtown was first accused as the killer of many innocent children, and how can we forget about what happened in Boston at the Marathon just a few weeks ago; plenty of reporting miscues there.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow not only journalists, but anyone for that matter, to post breaking news as it happens. No longer does the world have to wait for the morning newspaper to hear of the top stories from the day before or even an hour ago.
Breaking news is always at our fingertips, and we can get it via whichever outlet we so choose, and whenever we choose. But, this has caused a number of problems in reporting, which in turn brings up even more ethical dilemmas.
How many mistakes are too much? When will editors finally start emphasizing accuracy over quickness? There must be some sort of happy medium that can be implemented.
Unfortunately, I don’t see anything changing. There are far too many news organizations out there now that are all in competition with one another; competition centered on being first, rather than being exact.
Hopefully, as more reporting blunders begin to pile up, things will change. Journalism is one of the most powerful professions out there as journalists are able to shape the minds of all those who follow, but it has to be done right. Journalism must be practiced with great accuracy, precision, and care, but if journalists aren’t doing that, then what in fact are we doing?