Journalism has been playing a very vital role in our society for a long time. In the olden days, people used to get information in the village through town criers, especially when a king intended to give firsthand information to his people by summoning them to the palace. Now, the world of journalism has become very vast; it is not limited to newspapers. We have seen a transition from the more traditional ways of accessing information to highly customized interactions via social media platforms such as whatsapp, Facebook, twitter and Instagram apps, with the use of internet subscription. Others get news through electronic devices such as television, radio, cinema, smart phone and physical interview.
One of the features of the press is that they have credibility. When something happens in the society, people usually ask the source of information to enable them to know and verify its authenticity. Once the news comes from media houses such as television stations, radio stations and national dailies, they actually believe it. But in a situation where the people do not know the source of such information, they often discard it as a mere rumour. This is why as a journalist, one has to carry out discreet investigation on a particular incident scene before putting out such news stories to the public for consumption. Also, journalists need to have photography and videography skills, in addition to their writing skills. All that is needed is in the palm of their hands. If a reporter in the field can film and edit a video on his or her iPhone and send in the completed story in a record time, this will enhance productivity.
Today, we have online journalism, which took the newspaper industry an extensive amount of time and effort to adapt to. Through the advancement of the internet and online subscription, people can now conveniently sort or get information for research work and other key areas of interest in every aspect of life. The mass media is today seen as playing a key role in enhancing globalization and facilitating cultural exchange and multiple flows of information and images between countries through international news broadcasts, television programming, new technologies, film and music. It has also helped many businesses to grow, and connects people in one way or the other in the modern society. Furthermore, it enlightens the masses about government’s plans and initiatives in the area of development.
However, the current political climate has put an unprecedented amount of pressure on news organisations to get their facts right. For every written story, human beings are behind every step. And being a human means that error can occur once in a while. Journalists are not perfect and a simple mistake should not constitute, or be maliciously tagged as, fake news. Journalists are committed to keeping the people informed and aware of what is happening around the world. The tenets of journalism will remain unwavering, no matter the circumstances. The true and free press should stand by its promise to stay ethical, adaptive and credible.
- Saliu writes in from Abuja.
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