People around the world turn to the media in order to obtain up to date information about the issues impacting their society. We read their “facts” and assume them to be true without fact-checking the information or their sources. In a society where most information is consumed through media-controlled venues, how can we be certain that what they are telling us is true? Unfortunately, we don’t, and this proposes a huge problem in mainstream journalism.
If readers cannot trust the so-called reliable news sources that are feeding us information, who can we trust? As public skepticism of the media increases (from 72% of people claiming to trust the media in the 1970s to a shocking low of only 40% having high trust in news media’s information today) the public must be harboring high levels of frustration, and rightfully so. When the average person starts to question the authenticity of the news being given to them, it is clear that there is a problem with journalism and how it is presented to the public.
So how does this affect our society? Unsurprisingly, it creates a major issue not only in the journalism field but also within the lives of everyday citizens. If we are unable to trust the major media outlets that provide us our information, why even bother listening or caring? As it turns out, people are beginning to give up hope and are slowly but surely distancing themselves from reading or watching the news. In turn, an overwhelming sense of ambivalence is spreading throughout the country, even during the supposedly exciting election season.
In order to get a better sense of the growing distrust in mainstream media, it would be wise to interview those who are familiar with the business and how it works. To get both sides of this story, one should investigate statements made by an influential journalist in mainstream media, such as Brian Stelter from The New York Times. In addition, familiarize yourself with the experiences of lesser-known journalists who know how the media works, but won’t censor themselves in fear of losing their job. Any freelance journalist should be able to provide you with useful information regarding the media, but journalist Richard Joseph offers telling insight on his blog about his experiences as a freelance journalist. By comparing the statements of a successful, paid journalist with the experiences of a semi-successful freelance journalist, you will get useful information pertaining media accuracy from both ends of the spectrum.
You can contact Brian Stelter on Twitter at @brianstelter, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also reach Richard Joseph by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org