The history of news production and broadcasting is as old as the initial need to have a platform for a mass reach of information. This initial need meant that inventors would have to discover either the radio or the television sets. These two ‘sets’ have remained effective tools for spreading information. And the technology supporting their usefulness keeps evolving. But we can’t forget the print media.
The production of newspapers and magazines also do join the league of what may be termed the traditional media. About these traditional media, they are well regulated. The practitioners are mostly certified professionals who do understand the ethics of the profession. But what can be said of the ‘new media’ that seeks to replace what was? The social media has suddenly turned itself into an instant training school for ‘wannabe’ journalists.
A quick survey of the major social media platforms will show how individuals are always intending to perform tasks that make them appear to be news reporters. Many social media accounts are the new set of freelance journalists because they fall for the temptation to be the first to report the news, and they ignore the rules for news broadcasting.
We have seen many instances where videos are posted online which contravenes the ethics of public media. Imagine yourself watching a scene of jungle justice on raw video on a news platform such as the CNN (Cable News Network) or BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) or Aljazeera network, what would have been your immediate impression of these news organisations? It would certainly have been a case of disgust. But this same disgust has been absent on social media.
We have without restraint been consuming unedited violent videos that have a massive reach. The free and unregulated nature of the social media space is gradually robbing us of professionalism in broadcasting because most persons are relying on social media for their news updates. Things have to change. It will have to begin with the bloggers who own social media accounts.
Generating traffic to your personal account/website shouldn’t disregard the need to be professional. It won’t be an extreme request if bloggers are encouraged to acquire a bit of journalistic training. This will go a long way in ensuring that the public is spared some of the unpleasing items they consume online as news reports. And this prevalence of unprofessional can’t be dissociated from the much talked about fake news.
Fake news will exist because it is being peddled by fake news reporters who are grateful for a free media. There is a need for the operators of the various social media platforms to partner with broadcast media groups to vet new reports before they are allowed to fly online. Also, raw violent or nude news videos should be rejected on social media platforms.
If a particular video is reporting a controversial issue it should be well-edited to suit public consumption standards. The freedom from social media shouldn’t dent the beauty in journalism.