Cryptcl: What Journalistic Standards ?

In todays mix of new and old media there is only one constant. Fact checking is often not required. Political opinions are presented as factually accurate news. Vitriolic rhetoric and hyperbole are presented as factually accurate news. Name calling and accusations without evidence are constantly being presented as factually accurate news. We can’t keep going in this journalistic direction. We are getting to the point that media, both new and old, have no credibility with the audience anymore. It’s like a bunch of children calling each other names with no proof to back up the claims. Every major professional occupation has criteria and requirements to be licensed (doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, etc.). Why shouldn’t journalists be licensed thereby guaranteeing a certain data integrity in their stories.

I suggest we legislate in Congress some new quality rules for media journalist information distribution. The following are some rules I would like to see.

  • opinion shows or segments are clearly labeled as opinion shows or segments
  • news shows or segments are clearly labeled as news shows or segments
  • license journalists based on rules about data sources, and rules about data integrity. Data integrity is the responsibility of all certified journalists
  • any accusations must be presented with the evidence supporting that accusation
  • news shows will present an equal balance with a centric perspective (both left and right points)
  • no story can be taken from another media source without fact checking
  • any celebrity’s opinion or accusation must also present the supporting evidence. If a celebrity wants to express opinions, vitriol, rhetoric, or fact it must be clear which info is which.
  • civility rules so everyone gets treated with the same respect, incivility fines may apply
  • name calling is minimized and is monitored for accuracy, fines may be applied
  • vitriolic rhetoric and hyperbole is minimized and monitored for accuracy, fines may be applied
  • the clarification  of who is a journalist and who is a private citizen needs to be defined. A journalist can be a reporter on a website, a talk radio program, a TV program, an author, and hard copy newspaper. For a person to be classified as a journalist they must meet specific data integrity criteria, otherwise they are just a private citizen’s opinion blog on the web. Data integrity includes rules for defining sources, reliable sources, and integrity of the data presented.
  • no one has a monopoly on the truth. Truth can come from websites, authors, TV programs, talk radio, and newspapers. Truth can be proven with evidence, facts, and based on reliable sources.

This is just my first quick pass. There are lots of ways to improve journalism in this country.

Published in: on August 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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