With the coming of RSS feeds and online media, a lot of people recognized immediately the true advantage of news on that incredibly real and awesomely fast platform of internet newspapers. What no one bargain for however, is the bad habits that punctured all other forms of internet use to surface again on this most holy part of human endeavour. One of the major criterion for journalists is integrity.
People listen to and read your stories with an underlying trust that you are actually telling them the truth. Readers and listeners hardly ever take time to check the veracity of news items because there is a near sub-conscious believe that the journalist has done that for them. However, recent discoveries in some online news channels seriously question the wisdom of putting such enormous trust in the hands if people who are more interested in how many clicks they get on their website than the quality of what those clicks get their visitors. The even more unnerving thing is the rate at which what we read in our supposedly more traditionally responsible hardcopy are looking more like their recent brother. It is time consuming to try to verify every news item. I think that is why journalism is a profession not some typesetting service. That journalist will not abuse the trust that people have reposed in them is the whole definition of journalistic ethos. It is therefore very disheartening to see that we are now at a stage where that unpopular saying that "only fools believe everything in the news" seems more than a sadistical pun.
The problem may not be unconnected with business. Bloggers are making money by posting rumours and in some cases "thumours" (that's the closest thing I have for thoughts that are interesting to the blogger but are nevertheless not true) on their blogs to attract more crowd. That's how they make a living. That most of these bloggers are not trained journalist seems less important to them. Bloggers and journalist (both online and offline) are in perpetual jostle to break the news first. While the ethics of journalism demands that the journalists verify the story before broadcast, the blogger/online reporter has no such encumbrance.
Rationale would seem to suggest that bloggers are supposed to only discussed verified information but with the absence of any form of code of conduct or profession ethics, it almost certainly impossible to expect anything better. The worrisome development here is the rate at which online news feeds are churning out untrue and outright fasle news. The wise thing with even the so call independent channels these day is "Trust but Verify". Very few news item bring the supposedly huge satisfaction of "I break it first" but the more serious honour of news business are reserved for journalists who provided serious, true and completely verifiable stories.
That is why people trust them. The good that online news feed provide is gradually fading because of the irresponsibility of some of the practitioner. Like all evils often associated with the use of internet, I remain resolute that the internet shares none of the blame. It is all on people who use internet for such evils.
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