What Journalists Owe the Public

Journalists owe the public the truth. With so many news and social media outlets it is hard for the public to find real truth. There is a difference between news and truth. News signalizes an event, while truth brings facts to light. News may be truth, but not always. Reporters have a job to find and report truth.

With the evolution of 24/7 news and media coverage many news sources are quick to jump on any facts they hear without checking them. This was seen in the Navy Yard Shooting incident. Multiple news sources began attributing the shooting to an AR-15 gun. This breaking news was later found out to be false.


The public often doesn’t know who to trust because sources seek to use “facts” to set an agenda and support their case. In the case of the Navy Yard Shooting many used the attack to support an anti-gun agenda. This doesn’t mean that journalists can’t have opinions it just means that in order to do their job properly they must present accurate facts without forcing a certain opinion on an audience.

The truth deserves to be known so that the public can decide for themselves what is right or wrong. When media outlets push their opinions on their audience they are doing the audience a disservice. When truth is supported by many different and reliable sources it gives greater credibility to the facts presented. Journalists must sort through all the spin and bias from different news sources and find the pieces of truth.

In an article by Greg Hardesty entitled “Better by the dozen: quick tips for being a smarter reporter” he mentions several tips that are essential to good reporting. Several of his tips involve checking facts and always making sure you have correct information. “It’s your job as a journalist to confirm all factual stuff in your story. Get things right.”




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