Journalistic Style: It’s a Matter of Opinion

Today, I offer a few words about journalists and journalism. They were inspired by watching the local news, national network news, and NPR.

  1. Stop commenting on everything! One of our local newscasters comments on every story! It is so annoying.  I really do not want or need her opinion. I just want the facts, not what she thinks. Believe it or not, I can think for myself.
  2. Be professional.  Yesterday, we listened to NPR. The reporter, whose bias on the reported subject showed in her tone and the way she reported the facts, kept saying “um”. Really? Yes. She said “um”, before most sentences!  Did she not attend even a high school speech class? I do not understand this lack of professionalism. Speak clearly, without bias, and without “um”.  Why is this tolerated?
  3. Listen to a variety of sources. After being exposed to extremes of the journalistic world this fall, I think that we would all be better off if we would listen to a variety of news sources. Our computer “cookies” and social media sites customize what we see by what we click on to read, like, or view. Increasing one’s variety will increase one’s exposure to other view points.  No, they might not express the view-point you have, but it might give you something to think about and broaden your horizons.
  4. If you only listen to one source, and it is a source you agree with, you are only reinforcing your own views. This is not a good way to respect others, or the world around you. It is fine to have your own opinions. However, learn to be a good listener. This means letting others, especially those with whom you do not agree, express their views. While they are doing so, be a good listener. Do not interrupt. Do not argue. Just listen. You might learn something about yourself. We need more media outlets to be examples of this form of tolerance, instead of offering the drama of a shouting match.
  5. Think before you speak. This applies to everyone, but especially our leaders.

Those are my thoughts on journalism for the end of 2017. I will aspire to follow my own advice.  I hope I see a change in the trend of people believing their opinion is the only opinion that counts or is correct.  And, I hope I see an increase in professionalism in our journalists and public figures.

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