NEWS TRANSPARENCY AND GREATER GOOD

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By Namanzee Harris

Before the time of smart devices and social media, as recent as few years back (in 2012 Facebook reached 1 billion user), traditional one-way media are a powerful agenda setting platform. People do not question the information as the information are being disseminated through a controlled channel and are shared at the same time, same way and same method.

Consumption of news back then is like when the bell rings and its time for lunch. Everyone eats at the same place, same time, however different the meal is, people behave the same way while consuming the news.

Bell rings differently for every individual now. It’s not just about different time of consuming, but the behaviour and places to consume varies. More importantly, people consume the news individually, personally, and because it becomes personal, people formed the world view in accordance to the situation that happens around them.

Formation of public opinion becomes harder as news consumption becomes private and personal. In a way, troubleshooting problems becomes easier as we can get instant feedback and issues raised by the public, however trying to set an agenda, trying to do Christopher Nolan’s Inception of an idea requires a lot more than just broadcasting it at 8pm during News TV Bulletin.

How would transparency in news change in the future?

Before we can discuss about how transparency in news will change the future, we need to understand how people consume news nowadays. News requires instant (speed) in delivery. Expectation is that people will get theirs news like how Thanos snaps his fingers. Instant. Effective. Destructive. Or constructive. You decide.

News is very personalized in its consumption. And with A.I. it takes personalization to a whole different inception level. Organization use news to form public opinion. However, its not a straight messaging path like it used to be.

Formation of public opinion which includes the perception of transparency will have to come from personalization strategies that encompasses all area of the targeted groups of news consumer. Transparency requires curation of information/s through multiple platforms and crafted for multiple demographics of the intended audience through multiple formats.

Journalism.

Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities. Journalism can be distinguished from other activities and products by certain identifiable characteristics and practices.

In professional news media, all reporters are journalists but not all journalists are reporters.

“Reporter” is a specific role: Someone who gathers facts and information from multiple sources, verifies them and writes a story or relays (reports) those findings in a TV, radio or Internet broadcast.

“Journalist” includes anyone who is part of the editorial process of gathering and disseminating news: Reporters, editors, producers, photographers, camera operators, news columnists, etc.

In a literal sense, anyone can be a reporter by relaying their direct observations. (e.g. I saw a car crash.) With the advent of social media such as Twitter, amateur reporters are increasingly a breaking news alert network for traditional news organizations.

Ordinary people can also commit acts of journalism by following the journalistic process of fact-gathering, multi-source verification and putting those facts in context (e.g. A high-speed police chase after a million dollar bank robbery yesterday ended when the suspect’s car crashed into a lamp post at a busy downtown intersection.)

Today, reporters’ roles are being blurred as they are required to take on more tasks that include photography, editing, blogging, shooting and producing video, audio, etc., so “journalist” is increasingly the most appropriate catch-all term. Ashutosh Sinha, Journalist.

Drawing The Line Of Transparency.

Being a Reporter and/or journalist comes with accountability and with accountability comes responsibility. 

Transparency must be treated responsibly. 

Responsible reporting and thorough journalistic processes must be followed through. You cannot be transparent if you are not responsible for taking into account the impact of the news towards the consumers of news.

Anyone can be a journalist now in this age of Internet of Things and Social Media. Citizen Journalism. Journalism can draw the line for transparency if the process of gathering, assessing, creating, presenting the news is adhered to.

Namanzee at UiTM-Al Jazeera Week’s Digital Media: Crossing To The Future Talk at UiTM Puncak Alam, yesterday.

There is just so much chaos in the world of citizen journalism, that consumer is trying to find back some control and trust, and slowly they are reverting back to the organizations and news agencies. It’s like watching Netflix over linear programming. After sometime, because there is so much options, you tend to spend more time flipping through the catalogue. It is much more easier to switch on the Television, you are given a program to watch instead of thinking of what to watch.

How is transparency a threat to democracy?

It is a threat if the intention is to create instabilities. Instabilities in supposedly transparent news reporting can be created through irresponsibilities during the process of assessment and creation.

A reporter or a journalist go through years and years of training developing skills of listening, analytic, and more important and probably arguably the most important aspect of journalism is empathy.

Through empathy only then you can make good, sound judgement. The best of journalists and editors will make good judgement on news reporting and how news can be of great use for the greater good.

What is greater good? Who determine the greater good?

Ultimately each person determines the life that they want and that the purpose of living; its to survive living. Surviving the living is the core reason for everyone here. And the role of the government of the day is to ensure that everyone has a good living condition to survive.

And a good journalist in his task of reporting must be able to deliver transparency in news in tandem of being responsible for the effect and impact of the news towards the life of the people and consumers.

Transparency must be treated responsibly. That is greater good.

Namanzee Harris, aspiring to be a lifeguard and had just completed bronze certification lifeguard and water safety. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of AlHijrah Media Corporation (TV AlHijrah).

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