It is the duty of each successive generation of journalists to assess their relationship with truth and it seems that transparency may be the most honest device a modern reporter can employ.
This is what I took from today’s lecture by Claire Wardle on Journalism and Social Media.
Dr Wardle spoke about the challenges faced by traditional media outlets – good to know I’m not the only one – in keeping up with the changes brought about by the Internet.
She provided an exciting run down of these developments drawing on the availability of information and the increase in connectivity to show what a good time it is to be a journalist.
But she warned that journalists must also be mindful of these facts when putting together a story.
The arrogant assumption that we are privy to special, secret knowledge should be abandoned, replaced instead with a respect for the reader and a recognition that they may well know more about the subject than you do.
Therefore Dr Wardle recommended making content out of the process, showing the steps we take and sharing the content we collect on our way to getting a story.
This will not only give veracity and realism to our work but will also heighten the audience’s interest in the story by making them feel part of it.
Also by including the audience in on our projects we are able to draw upon their knowledge to develop and enhance our story.
This notion of a news story as being organic and changing struck a chord with other people in the group.
After the lecture Richard Welbirg and I discussed the drawbacks of narrative storytelling and the potential of the Internet to remedy this.
I argued that if transparent journalism is all about improving your work by accepting the limitations of your craft then surely, in recognising the artifice of a self-contained story we can draw attention to the way in which an event connects to wider issues: