The digital era has totally changed how the news spectrum looks today. In the modern day, anyone can package and send out news using a device as simple as a mobile phone. Creating a news website is just as easy, with the many templates and tutorials available online.
If you arm yourself with a device as easy to lay hands on as a second hand MacBook pro, you can create news content as high in quality as that which the big media outlets send out to their audiences. Additionally, social media platforms have allowed independent viewers to build enormous followings for themselves. Today, we have self-made celebrities and influencers, besides the traditional TV anchors and radio personalities we used to know.
While the growth of online popularity has liberalised how news is served, it has also had a significant shortcoming; fake news. The popular term used to describe false, unverified and mostly one-sided reports has threatened to water down the many advantages brought by new media.
Fake news has come to the fore, both as a result of unethical journalism and ignorance on the part of untrained people who are practising it. It is a major concern of our time, but, in the end, media personalities who stay clear of the vice, will be left to rule the industry.
Here are a few helpful thoughts as to how to keep yourself on the unpolluted side of the divide. This works whether you are a trained or untrained journalist, whether you work for a mainstream news company or a personal news website.
Know and Follow Media Ethics
Ethics will never go out of fashion. To be ethical does not mean to be fearful, but instead being considerate of the people you report about, and the people you report to. It means to always retain your human heart in the course of reporting.
Do not rush to post graphic content just for the sake of getting clicks. However breaking a story may be, do not send it out without verifying its authenticity. It is undoubtedly better to be a little late than to have to apologise. Always be balanced in your reporting.
These, and much more media practice ethics are available on the internet at no cost; do not be lazy. For untrained reporters, the internet is still a great resource to learn how to report well.
Consumers hate ‘now we see them, now we don’t’ reporters. This is especially so for people with personal websites. Always be there to deliver news to your audience, and they will grow to trust you. Think of how you reliable you would like your newspaper delivery guy to be.
Tweak Your Platforms
The outlook of the platforms you use to send out news says a lot about you. Whether it is the website or your personal pages, take time to ensure they look presentable. Engage the services of an expert where possible.
Be the personality who stands when fakes come calling.