WSJ Opinion: The state of journalism
Wall Street Journal Opinion brings “The State of Journalism” where college students discuss what is working and what is not.
The extracts range from different students who view journalism in a political view, talk about its standards and the cost of news and on cutting corners.
“Almost everyone claims to want an unbiased news media. In divided times, we’re all tired of the polarization, the diametrically opposed interpretations of the same facts. We condemn this phenomenon, but we keep tuning in. In truth, the vast majority of viewers want bias with their news. We want to have our opinions confirmed. Fair and impartial journalism will always be a noble pursuit, but audiences have to want it,” Jacob Kaminski, University of Chicago, M.B.A. on journalism as a political theater.
“There is no doubt that journalism has seen a dramatic improvement in quality over the years. Advances in technology and increased specialization have done wonders for fact-checking, data analysis and long-form writing. On the other hand, all that choice and specialization have polarized the media. Journalists and aspiring journalists must take care, perhaps now more than ever, to avoid echo chambers, remain open-minded and insist on high standards of integrity for themselves as well as others,” Arihant Panagariya, Columbia University, politics and finance on focusing on the standards of journalism.
“The constant demand for new content on the internet has been a mixed blessing for journalism. People have access to more news and analysis, but the heightened demand has also created unhealthy incentives. News organizations have long competed over who can break the story first, but the race has become a sprint. One tempting way for less scrupulous journalists and outlets to gain a speed advantage is to lower standards. Another is to present a story in an especially provocative way. “Clickbait” attracts readers by outraging them, rather than offering them reliable information in context. It’s probably impossible to report the news with complete objectivity. Nevertheless, I hope the next generation of journalists will choose to refocus on gathering all the facts and presenting them as impartially as possible,” Sara Sporkin, University of Maryland, College Park, economics on cutting corners in journalism.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10% decline in jobs for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts by 2028, and it isn’t hard to guess why. It’s easy to come by free information in the internet age, so why pay? Unfortunately, there’s no reason to believe that free news is better news. That’s the doom and gloom. But finding and reporting the truth remains critical to civic life. For that reason, I suspect quality reporting will continue to be valued, even if it takes an unfamiliar form. People in positions of power will always need to be held accountable,” Clare Stumpf, University of Wisconsin-Madison, actuarial science on the cost of news in journalism.