Can traditional news reporting values survive?
In this time of disintermediated news reporting, the sources of stories can quickly and easily post content directly to Internet places like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and blogs. Often, there is no fact checking or context to this content. True or not, these stories can be accessed quickly, spread virally and linked to by citizens using Internet technologies. Professional journalists, scrambling to responsibly cover news stories that spread at Internet speed, can seem to be left in the dust. The pressure to publish fast, too fast, is almost irresistible. How can traditional news reporting values survive and be a value in such a fast paced environment?
I would like to do traditional research on this topic and conduct interviews with practitioners of both new media and traditional media. I think a focused podcast on this topic alone would also be very worthwhile. Such a podcast could stimulate a conversation that needs to take place on this topic on a broader front.
What I envision is a well produced audio podcast, similar in style and professionalism to what Terry Gross does on NPR. This podcast would consist of a series of interviews of new and traditional media professionals as well as journalism educators. This approach would be combined with a literature search, research of what has been published in juried publications and where possible a search of the transcripts of conference presentations. There are many opportunities for partnering and synergy in this research. For example, The Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ) work discussing the future of the profession would fit right in with the research I am planning. As CCJ said on their Web site, "Journalism's first obligation is to the truth."
In my opinion the truth is our greatest core value as journalism educators. The news consuming public has more choices than ever before for sources of information. YouTube is competing with responsible information sources for attention.
With many of the information sources on the Internet not so committed to truth, how do journalists compete for an audience and still uphold the values of the fourth estate? That is what I would like to research.