Journalism and Honesty

We all know journalism has changed dramatically with the advent of the internet, reality television, and so on. Most ‘news’ seems to deal with celebrities or those who think they are celebrities. For example, I had to search for information this past week on the earthquake in Alaska. I had to sift through so-called articles on the Kardashians, on which city is the ‘sexiest’ and on women’s jello wrestling.

So I’m admittedly jaded on news articles these days. But one in particular really set my teeth on edge. An article in which the reporter interviewed someone who just happens to be the author’s spouse. Which was not disclosed in the article. (This was not a national-level news agency.)

And I am supposed to respect that journalist? Believe the article? Trust that it wasn’t written with a specific slant? And what about the readers who don’t happen to know that fact? They’ve all been cheated.

There’s such a thing as an appearance of fairness when it comes to journalism. Most professional journalists would have simply disclosed the relationship in the article and gone on with their opinion. That would have been just fine. But by not disclosing that fact, the appearance of fairness no longer exists.

What also no longer exists is any trust in the facts of the article. Because if the relationship between writer and interviewee had to be hidden, I’m left wondering what else is hidden as well.

And when you have to question the truthfulness of the writer, you’ve lost the reader.

What are your thoughts on this type of journalism, or the ‘new’ journalism?

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