It seems that we may have missed something.
At some point, in each of my three journalism classes this semester, we have been reminded that journalism is changing and the Internet is becoming the dominant media outlet. As budding journalists we are told that we will need to broaden our skills if we want to compete in our chosen field. We need to learn video. We need to learn photography. We need to blog.
Faster, quicker, go go go!
Perhaps we need to slow down.
Lately it seems as though the media is in a frenzied race to be the first to report. Actually, I think it has always been that way. No one wants to be scooped. However, reporting used to be about who could get the facts, check it, write it and print it. With the advent of the Internet it seems to be about who can type faster. Forget the fact checking. There is no time to look for sources. Get it out there!
The rush to report has recently produced a bevy of inaccurate and often completely erroneous stories. It appears that a lot of these radically wrong reports could have been avoided if the media sources took a moment or two to check their facts. Printing incorrect information is detrimental to the credibility of the media.
I am not the only one with this opinion. The media seems to be critizing itself when it comes to the barrage of information being thrown up on the Internet. As journalists our first obligation is to the truth and our first loyalty is to the citizens (derived from Kovach &Rosenstiel’s book The Elements of Journalism). In order to be truthful and accurate in our reporting to our citizens we need to slow down.
Take a breath.