Our job is to report the news. When doing that, there’s a stringent process we go through to determine what’s most important - the facts. That’s what makes us journalists, professionals and people whose job it is to inform the public about what’s happening.
We have a platform in this paper that we can stand on and share information with the world. However, in the last few years there’s been more platforms arising throughout the cosmos that some would say is even a minor threat to the world of journalistic independence, and integrity.
With Facebook, and tools similar like Twitter, it seems that everyone is now a journalist. Everyone has the ability to report the news that’s happening around them, sometimes even as it’s happening.
We’ve seen examples of how Facebook and Twitter have been used to aid the world of Journalism in new and exciting ways - like when that guy live tweeted the capture of Osama Bin Laden, or how people used it during the uprisings in Egypt and Syria. The technology is there, and it can be used in very exciting ways.
My fear, though, is what happens when it’s used in the wrong way.
As humans, we are sinful by nature - which isn’t really meant to be a spiritual statement, but more or less to point out that we have a tendency to do wrong over doing right. For many, that means it’s easier to tell a lie than the truth - it’s easier to steal than to buy and it’s easier to gossip than to keep something to yourself.
I am a huge believer in the fact that there’s a huge difference between gossip and the news. We are not a gossip paper - we are a newspaper. We don’t report gossip - we report facts. The problem with the new media, though, is that often times, people report gossip.
In fact, they feel it’s their civil duty to report gossip. What they heard, or what someone told them, and right away they jump on their platform and let the world know. That right there could end up being not only the ruination of journalistic integrity - but the integrity of the human race as we know it - and that’s scary.
So scary, in fact, it warrants a plea.
Let’s take it upon ourselves to spread the truth, and nothing but the truth. Let’s not get caught up in the lies and rumors that are so rampant. Let’s check our facts, and ensure that what we say has merit and substance.
If you can’t do that, then keep it to yourself. But most of all, keep it off Facebook.
– Rudy Norman