Scott Pelley brings up some really good points, and I find myself, for the most part, agreeing with him. Specifically he says “never before has more information been available to people,” but on the other hand, “never before has more bad information been available to people.”
I think that statement sums up everything we’ve learned in class this semester. There’s an unlimited amount of information online because anyone can be a publisher…but no one takes the time to be an editor. Pelley names various social media sites, claiming they are not an example of journalism, but rather gossip. I think that’s so true.
Too often I’ll be scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and see some stupid political meme that some uneducated bumpkin posts. Something like “Obama’s a Muslim” or “Syrian Refugees are Members of ISIS,” and I’ll freak out. People see things on the internet, and they just take them as fact without asking any relevant questions.
That’s a really scary practice for the general public to partake in, and it’s on us as journalists to verify the things we post on the internet, or we’re no better than the trolls and meme sharers.
I think Pelley’s pointing out how ridiculous it is for every media outlet to strive to be first is really useful. Professional journalism is all about being right, not about being first. We need to hold ourselves accountable for providing accurate information to our audience. Otherwise, there’s nothing separating professional publishers from amateurs.