Thoughts on media coverage of the #Aurora, Colo., shooting
Journalists are like water. And the bottom of the stream is truth.
Inspired by Matthew Keys’ blog on his take of the journalistic feat that it takes to cover such a tremendous event, from a journalist’s point of view, I’ve decided to write about where I believe journalism stands. (Hint: It’s headed in a positive direction.)
As early as 1 a.m. in Aurora, Colo., local journalists began to cover the July 20, 2012, shooting with the drive that goes beyond ratings, profits or website page views. What happened in the hours, and likely days (as of this writing), is a case study example of how devoted journalists are invested to gathering information—a process we call reporting—and publishing it with the utmost respect for truth.
What made this event an extraordinary event for journalists, aside from the indescribable actions of James Holmes, was the vast amount of resources available to gather information and disseminate the information. While technology has proved to be a valuable tool in finding sources and basic nuggets of data, it has also proved to be an obstacle to differentiate lie from truth.
A journalist’s true skill is revealed in his/her ability to discern lie from truth, or at least question truth until it is proven solid until all avenues are exhausted. This isn’t always the case, unfortunately. But like water, journalists either find their way to the truth or they end up in a crevice of inaccuracy and misreporting.
Nevertheless, journalists are innovators. They are resourceful and they seek solutions to a universal problem: how to find truth and report it factually. The demand for truth-seeking has led to the rise and success of such web tools like Storify, YouTube, mobile applications, Twitter and blogs—all avenues of mass media distribution available to citizens of free worlds. Without these tools, we, as free people, would remain at the mercy of newspaper publishers and TV conglomerates.
While some of the best media organizations hire the best journalists in the world, media companies, as of yet, have failed to find a sustainable way to profit from such truth-seeking veracity of journalists. While some may see it as a gloom-and-doom sign of the culture of news, the basic tenets of journalism remain intact. And while this basic pursuit of truth remains engrained at the core of journalists, we’ll eventually find our way to truth.
Profitable or not, journalists will seek truth and report it factually.
July 21, 2012 Journalism