transparency in the news

(Audrey Kalman/Emerald)

In this age of “fake news,” trust in news media is at an all-time low. Increased use of social media and the internet in recent years have exacerbated this problem. There is a huge increase in misinformation on the internet, and it’s difficult to weed out what is true. Genuine news media publications are faced with a public that no longer knows what to trust. There needs to be a shift in transparency in news publications. If news publications are more transparent in where and how they are crafting these stories and acquiring information, there will be a positive shift in public trust of news.

Transparency can be achieved by taking action and prioritizing the public. Reporters and journalists need to tell the public how they got the story, why they deemed it newsworthy, how they got the information that was included and who their sources were. It is important to respect the audience, and journalists need to take responsibility for the news they are releasing. When talking with journalists and experts to examine how to be more transparent in an effort to shift public trust, the American Press Institute stated, “If journalists are truth seekers, it must follow that they be honest and truthful with their audiences, too.” In order to achieve this, journalists need to make a greater effort “to cite original source material, to offer ways for the audience to participate in the news-gathering process, or to be responsive to requests for correction.” Furthermore, they found that the five keys to credibility were:

  1. Support your reporting with sources and show your audiences

  2. Collaborate with your audience

  3. Attribute information responsibly

  4. Offer disclosures and statements of values

  5. Correct website and social media errors effectively

News agencies need to implement a standard process that ensures everyone is accountable across the board. People are suspicious of the media and some outlets are not trustworthy. By implementing processes to enhance accountability, publishers will not only have an advantage over other publishers, but they will also help incite trust in the news again.

Opinion articles need to be clearly marked so that the public can distinguish them from objective news. All news outlets have different ways of labeling content which can lead to confusion. There should be a nationwide standard for how articles are labeled. Online media sources should be explicit about disclosing all commercial funding. The public has a right to know what is paid to advertise and what goes into the algorithms that determine what advertisements the public sees.

By being more transparent and honest with the public, by being willing to redact and fix mistakes and by showing how stories are created, the credibility of news and the faith of the public will rise. In our digital world, there are masses of information, some true, some false, and explaining stories and sources will lead to improvements in reporting.

Help us save student newsrooms

In conjunction with Save Student Newsrooms day on April 25, we launched our $3,500 campaign to provide our newsroom with some of the tools and resources needed to compete in the digital world.

We are asking for your generosity at this time to help us update our multimedia equipment.

We have not been able be purchase any multimedia equipment since 2013 and are working with lenses that are 17 years old. Unfortunately, we often rely on students using their own equipment.

Your donations will not only help Emerald Media Group produce better content, but it will also better prepare our student journalists for professional positions by giving them opportunities to use state of the art equipment.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the Emerald Media Group and our student journalists.