We do not leap blindly into taking positions on national issues just because other publications and the electronic and social media, political leaders and self-proclaimed pundits are speaking in the same voice. We do not follow the brand of investigative journalism in which a newspaper or magazine first targets an editorially agreed upon individual or an institution, pursues its quarry for several months and then lets loose a barrage at an opportune moment, using the time spent on the story to solicit advertising and revenue support from vested interests seeking either protection from the hunt or having an interest in the outcome.
The media landscape is in constant flux. Social media platforms now allow almost anybody to become an ‘expert’ and opinions to be presented to the world as facts or as ‘news’. Politicians have seized on the opportunity to discredit news reports that they see as unfavourable as ‘fake news’. They too have become their own ‘publisher’, their messages sent out unfiltered and unchallenged. Whose truth is it anyway? looks at how journalists across the world are coming to terms with this new reality.
In a time when “fake news” and “post-truth” have become common phrases, the new york state writers institute at the university at albany have examined what it really means to tell the truth through a series of events, including movies and discussions, culminating in a two-day seminar on journalism, media and democracy. The seminar, “telling the truth in a post-truth world,” was held oct. 12-14 at the university at albany. 30 prominent journalists, editors, nonfiction authors, historians and first amendment scholars engaged in in-depth panel discussions about “matters that are under attack and that are central to a free and open and functioning democratic society,” said writers institute director paul grondahl.
The seminar, “telling the truth in a post-truth world,” was held oct. 12-14 at the university at albany. 30 prominent journalists, editors, nonfiction authors, historians and first amendment scholars engaged in in-depth panel discussions about “matters that are under attack and that are central to a free and open and functioning democratic society,” said writers institute director paul grondahl. “my mentor and writers institute founder william kennedy and i had been talking about organizing this symposium since the early days of the presidential campaign, when the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ began to gain traction,” grondahl said.
Early modern newspapers
Even though tori has been out of journalism school only a few years, the job of many reporters has changed substantially since she began to learn her craft. Like practically all daily newspapers now, the herald has its own online edition, accessible on the web. The paper maintains a small separate staff to produce the online edition, but all the reporters contribute to it. The online staff is so small that they do not have time for much rewriting, so tori is often asked to write an early version of her story for immediate web distribution.
Historians of the book like elizabeth eisenstein and adrian johns have shown that belief in the ‘intrinsic reliability’ and truth-value of the printed book,
especially early modern science books, could not be assumed but had to be ‘made’. 11 this could be done through printing practices, like standardisation and fixity, 12 or through the patronage of the great, the carefully constructed persona of the author, elaborately staged polemics, or institutional support. 13 to establish the newspapers’ truthfulness, the printer of commercial newspapers had few of these resources. In fact, the early newspaper had an explicitly discussed credibility problem.
Especially early modern science books, could not be assumed but had to be ‘made’. 11 this could be done through printing practices, like standardisation and fixity, 12 or through the patronage of the great, the carefully constructed persona of the author, elaborately staged polemics, or institutional support. 13 to establish the newspapers’ truthfulness, the printer of commercial newspapers had few of these resources. In fact, the early newspaper had an explicitly discussed credibility problem. For example, in 1773, two years before the beginning of the american war, richard henry lee wrote to samuel adams requesting information regarding the british commission appointed to investigate the burning in rhode island of the customs ship hms gaspee.
Reporting the Truth in the Age of Fake News
Vatican city (reuters) – if you ever wondered how to say “fake news” in latin, it’s “nuntii fallaces” – and pope francis is writing a document on just that. Francis announced it himself in a tweet to his nearly 40 million followers on friday, saying the theme of his message for the roman catholic church’s next world day of social communications will be “the truth will set you free. Fake news and journalism for peace. ” in latin, one of the nine languages the pope uses to tweet, that would be “veritas liberavit vos.
In the end of 2016 post-truth was elected ‘word of the year‘ by the oxford dictionary, even if fake news are not new at all: there have been hoaxes as long as there’s been someone reporting news, more or less. So what’s the point with post-truth ?
readers’ (bad) habits: today many people only scroll the latest news on their smartphones and sometimes they share articles without reading anything but the title.
Where do we most often find real truth, real facts in a new era of internet hoaxes, fake news stories and new political administrations that tout their own “alternative facts”?
many citizens appear confused and worried. News stories from the bbc and the new york times and money magazine are reporting (with proof) that dystopian novels such as 1984 by george orwell and brave new world by aldous huxley are seeing a noticeable boost in sales. After meryl streep’s anti-trump and pro-journalism speech at the golden globe awards in january, donations picked up to the committee to protect journalists.
Truth and Accuracy
Journalistic ethics and standards comprise principles of ethics and good practice applicable to journalists. This subset of media ethics is known as journalism’s professional ” code of ethics” and the “canons of journalism”. The basic codes and canons commonly appear in statements by professional journalism associations and individual print , broadcast , and online news organizations. So while various codes may have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of truthfulness , accuracy , objectivity, impartiality , fairness, and public accountability , as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.
Obituaries should stick as closely to the facts as possible. People who take liberties with the truth in a life story dishonor the dead, as well as those who are living and grieving the loss. Obituary writers must abide by publication guidelines, and ensure that the surviving family is respected in the written tribute. Every effort should be made to correct a story that has been misleading about the events of a deceased person’s life. After all, this is the final record of their life—accuracy matters.
So while various codes may have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of truthfulness , accuracy , objectivity, impartiality , fairness, and public accountability , as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public. Like many broader ethical systems, the ethics of journalism include the principle of “limitation of harm. ” this may involve the withholding of certain details from reports, such as the names of minor children , crime victims’ names, or information not materially related to the news report where the release of such information might, for example, harm someone’s reputation.
Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. We should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure that they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information we should say so.
Establishing the Truth
Truth, truthiness, triangulation: a news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world
joyce valenza is an assistant professor of teaching at rutgers university school of information and communication evaluating news sites: credible or clickbait? an assignment from radford u. Fake news: recommendations from the media literacy clearinghouse includes lesson plans & videos.
“A media literacy initiative of ithaca college that develops and provides lesson plans, media materials, training, and support for the effective integration of media literacy with critical thinking into classroom curricula at all education levels”.
News Literacy Introduction: News Through Time
There are elements that need to be considered when one writes a news report. In the book “the daily miracle: an introduction to journalism”, conley and lamble (2006) present these eight updated elements of news as the basis in determining newsworthiness for news stories that are being published namely: impact, conflict, timeliness, proximity, prominence, currency, human interest and unusual. 1. Impact. According to the proponents, an impact is equivalent to newsworthiness. This value not only represents a story’s importance to society but also mirrors a greater significance of the decisions one makes in his or her life.
Real News vs. Fake News
The primary purpose of the news is to inform people about important events. However, as has become clear recently, this process is not always what actually happens. Fake news, biased news sources, opinions disguised as facts and so on… these are realities of our modern news world. The goal of this unit is to learn how to become a more critical consumer of news by improving our media literacy skills.
Center for news literacy from stony brook u. School of journalism includes lessons, a course pack, and more we have a bad news problem, not a fake news problem. “Fake news may be a bad thing, but not all bad news reporting is “fake,” and that distinction should be kept clear.” How can we learn to reject fake news in the digital world? from thomas p. Mackey, vice provost for academic programs, suny empire state college & trudi jacobson, distinguished librarian, university at albany, state university of new york. These are important questions to consider these days.
Quality of News Reports
The ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television or the internet. Our kids need new types of filters. Beyond larger notions of information literacy, i see the case for a specific focus on news literacy. Not as a lesson of good vs. Bad. Not as an attempt to pitch traditional media against social media or peer review against popular publication. Not through the examination of hoaky hoax sites. And certainly not as a one-of, checklist type of lesson for a 9th grade social studies teacher in september.
We need critical thinking skills way more than we need to focus on our kids regurgitating some math fact they don’t understand.