Most people are unaware that journalists are most likely to report ‘facts’ rather than ‘truth.’ However, truth-telling is also one of the essential principles of journalism and media. Journalists strive to work on a news story, gather facts, and then report to the public. There are three different media perspectives: accuracy, promotion of understanding, and fairness in providing the information.
Why is it that news should almost be accurate enough?
News is expected to be always true and accurate enough because the public depends on the reporters and journalists for information. Journalists should make sure that the news is as transparent as possible because there are many chances for the readers and viewers to conclude based on the news story reported by the journalists. In the perspective of journalism, the truth can refer to a piece of information or an incident with all the views, unbiased opinions accompanying a perfect fact-check.
Does journalistic truth refer to the exact and ultimate information of the news story?
No, not really. Journalistic truth refers to a process where a professional journalist gathers, collects, researches, and verify facts. After this process gets done, they try to present the news story fairly and unbiased. Also, once the news is delivered to the readers and viewers, that neither does mean that the news is ended nor the complete report has truth in it. In simple words, a report consisting of journalistic truth can be defined as information gathered, fact-checked, and reported.
How can a lie affect the public from the perspective of news and journalism?
As mentioned above, journalists should be transparent and careful enough before reporting or announcing something. Journalism and media are some of the most influential aspects that can easily influence the public. One lie due to the negligence of journalists can destroy people’s lives. For instance, if a news channel or a newspaper declares a wrong list of terrorists or suspects, could you imagine how that would damage each of their personalities?
Thus, it is better not to report, publish and announce rather than proving false information to the public.
What are the other principles of journalism that follow ‘journalistic truth’?
Firstly, the discipline of verification is one of the main principles of journalism that come after journalistic truth. Verification comes under the process of gaining journalistic truth. Journalists should make sure that they get the information right. Though journalistic methods are objective, a journalist cannot be objective and thus must stay neutral. Verification of the facts involves talking to multiple witnesses, asking for opinions and comments on various sides, disclosing the sources in the news report as much as possible, and so on. To conclude, journalistic truth, fact-check, and discipline of verification distinguish journalism from other communication forms like fiction, advertising, propaganda, entertainment, etc.