Reminders for journalists

The dark side of engagement?

I call this “Reminders for Journalists” because nothing I will write here is anything new, either for them or for the reading public, which includes me.

Straits Times’ Opinion Editor Grace Ho writes about the often ad hominem attacks journalists, especially female journalists, face when engaging with audiences online via email and social media. Many of these are of course cloaked in anonymity. Let me pause here and call out those who do such things – grow up and grow a pair. Pick on someone your own size. Okay, back to writing.

The fallacy common to all humans is that everyone needs to “make money”. Rubbish. We need to do our best great work and enough money will come. Enough to sustain us. Even if the money is “not enough”, we will find ways to get more income and continue our best great work. So, newspapers needing to “make money” to “survive” is nonsense. You’re more than smart enough to thrive, you just choose not to.

What are some reminders for journalists, then? I have a few.

1. Report the TRUTH as far as you can.

Present FACTS. What you SAW. What you HEARD. Not what you FELT. And if you want to talk about what you FELT, then SAY SO.

2. Take the effort to cross-examine.

If you interview people, talk to eyewitnesses, etc, take the time and effort to ask left, ask right, ask over, under and through. Journalists are supposed to have this as second nature, ja?

3. If you don’t have enough for a good report, say so, and you’ll get back to readers.

People don’t expect you to be able to know all the facts or even what is actually happening compared to what we can actually know at the current time. Say so, no need to be shy about it.

That should be enough for now. I would like to encourage journalists who feel pressured not to worry about what “other people” think about them. Do not be concerned about “unbiased journalism”, since it does not exist, and just do your best great work in presenting the TRUTH to all of us readers.

By the way, READERS, stop abusing journalists and discern what is true for YOURSELF.

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