Journalists play an essential role in society

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Having credible information is vital to have reasoned and reasonable debates that lead us to tackle the problems ahead and seek solutions

We live in a confusing time.

In the heart of Europe, war is raging, a futile struggle that gives us a glimpse of a long and hard winter.

The price of food and fuel has skyrocketed, ushering in a time of hunger and deprivation, even in vulnerable communities furthest from conflict.

Rising tensions in East Asia, along with the rivalry between the United States and China, make Taiwan a powder keg that could lead to a more serious confrontation than we’d like, hard to contain once it breaks out.

Against this backdrop, we hear a tidal wave of extreme weather events from around the world – devastating floods, massive fires and devastating droughts – raising the alarm that the climate crisis is becoming increasingly difficult to combat.

It is therefore not surprising that the public is overwhelmed by the news. People show concern about current events and the direction they can take.

Added to this is the arrival of fictitious news and false information, which only exacerbate the general malaise. Some of this flow of information is deliberately made public to influence public opinion, but there is another part that is innocently and thoughtlessly shared on social media platforms. Worst of all, if we slammed on the brakes to control the entire news stream, we’d be limiting legitimate interaction.

In times like these, the World News Day we celebrate today takes on extra importance. The day we commemorate today makes us think about how journalism can make a difference and why it’s so important that it does.

Journalists who work in professional newsrooms play a vital role in the well-being of the communities to which they deliver their news. And our democracies depend on this function being performed efficiently and with determination.

In my opinion, we should focus on providing information, reflections and inspiring thoughts.

Having credible information (i.e., based on facts, reliable and current) is vital for having reasoned and reasonable debates that lead us to tackle the problems ahead and find solutions. We may all be entitled to our opinion, but not to our own facts. Without agreement on at least basic facts, the democratic debate is reduced to a cacophony of statements, in which “the best have no conviction and the worst are overflowing with passionate intensity,” Yeats argues.

Fact journalism requires painstaking fieldwork by reporters, persistent verification and quality control by editors, and serious analysis and interpretation by experienced commentators.

It should come as no surprise that in these confusing times we find ourselves in, the public is looking for trusted voices from whom to receive reliable information and reasoned reflections. Many studies show that, in addition to news, the public also values ​​professionals who explain, tell and analyze information, both through electronic and audiovisual media and through news bulletins.

Given the relentless wave of pessimism, the public is also looking for inspiration. You want to hear possible solutions to the problems that arise and also from those who want to address them. So we have enough content to shine a light in a dark hallway and give a voice to the communities and people most often ignored or forgotten.

Let me give an example, that of a video series called ‘Invisible Asia’ in which my colleagues from the newspaper ‘The Straits Times’ put the spotlight on people who live in the shadows of society and consequently on lines that are generally not followed. listened not taken into account.

Included here are everything from the outcast class of the burakumin or “untouchables” in Japan, to the hardships that the sewer cleaners in India endure today and the silent arm of immigrants doing odd jobs in China, or the isolation that is cherished by those innocent brides arriving from abroad to marry their husbands in Singapore.

This series won the top prize for Investigative/Business Video Journalism at the Global Editor & Publisher EPPY Awards 2021. (Learn more at: https://www.straitstimes.com/multimedia/graphics/2021/03/invisible-asia/index. html? shell)

The World News Day website lists many more examples of impact journalism has achieved. (https://worldnewsday.org) The old adage “show, don’t tell” would apply here.

At a time when the Orwellian ambiguity of “war is peace, freedom is slavery” and state-sponsored disinformation campaigns are becoming more and more pervasive, it seems time on World News Day to look to that journalist-scholar, George Orwell, for inspiration.

In his 1946 essay entitled “Why I Write,” Orwell argued that every piece of writing, and perhaps especially a journalistic piece, has a political purpose, in addition to trying to tell a good story.

His words from then are still true. Orwell told us: “My starting point is always a sense of camaraderie, a sense of injustice.

When I sit down to write a book, I don’t tell myself, “I’m going to create a work of art.” I’m writing it because I want to expose a lie, or a fact that I want to draw attention to, and what worries me is to be heard.

But I couldn’t take on the task of writing a book or a long newspaper article if it weren’t also an aesthetic experience. I want, and it is not my wish, to completely let go of the worldview I acquired as a child. As long as I live and stay healthy, I will continue to be strongly attracted to the style of prose.

The task is to reconcile my sympathies and indelible differences with the essential public, non-individual activities to which our time compels us all».

So it was, and it still is, especially today.

Source: La Verdad

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