9 Dec 2016

Real journalism versus non-journalism.

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Excerpt from an article by Denis Muller

Real journalism involves collecting and verifying facts before publishing them. It involves adherence to legal and ethical standards concerning due process at law, avoidance of wrongful harm, and respect for public taste.
It involves the unfashionable function of gatekeeping – call it editing.
It involves shining a light in dark places to reveal things that people in power want concealed. That is how we know, for instance, about sexual abuse of children by clergy, and about bad behaviour by the insurance arm of the Commonwealth Bank.
Journalism like this involves accumulating evidence to a standard of proof commensurate with the gravity of the wrongdoing. It is a complex exercise demanding skill and experience.
Yes, professional journalism has many flaws and neither the practitioners nor the media industry they work for are as accountable as they should be for the way they use their power. But there is some accountability, including some serious legal consequences.
Moreover, they operate in the open, with no cloak of anonymity to hide behind.

This is the kind of journalism that serves the public interest.
It follows that it is in the public interest that professional journalism and the media industry respond effectively to the current challenge to their institutional legitimacy. Basically, that means doing journalism to high ethical standards and putting the need to be right ahead of the need to be first.
This is not about elite journalism versus alternative journalism. It is about real journalism versus non-journalism.
"Alas real journalist are becoming an endangered species!


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