Why news should be serious

The first thing many people ingest in the morning with a cup of coffee is the news and latest happenings around the world. The events and facts presented to the general public forms a foundation to the way they perceive the world and help make the best possible decisions in their daily life. Therefore, it is important that the truth be presented to the public in a proper manner. Although some argue that news should be made entertaining to capture the reader’s attention, news should never be distorted from reality as it affects the reader’s understanding of the subject matter and their judgment on it.

Fake news is always juicy, and it spreads like wildfire. During the 2016 presidential campaigns, news of Pope Francis endorsing President Donald Trump spread around the globe. Hillary Clinton, as the news suggested, had financial connection with the so-called Islamic State and sold weapons. This piece of news was false, but it was impactful in the campaign with some people even suggesting that the fake news helped determine the outcome of the presidency campaign. There were thousands of tweets and Facebook posts and comments regarding the subject matter. Whatever the intention was behind publishing such news, the impact on society as a whole was huge. While the pope had nothing to do with the U.S. presidency, the piece of news distorted the reality.

Fake news is as old as journalism itself. There has always been a tendency to add some entertaining factors to the event being presented. While people find truth hard and boring, fabricated news diffuses faster in the society. Setting aside the professionalism and the ethical aspect of journalism, presenting reality with a different angle eventually harms the society in the long run. Such practice damages trust in media. Journalism is an important pillar of a democratic society, and for the society to run smoothly, journalists must ensure the correct flow of information to the public. They must fulfill their responsibility of showing the public the news as it is without any exaggeration and bias. 

Working for a newspaper, my team and I are always very cautious that we do not exaggerate the truth but present facts and figures as they are. It is because we understand that doing so will weaken our credibility, and we will lose our readers eventually. I have always been fond of the Harry Potter series and had a dislike towards Rita Skeeter, which was simply because of the way she bent the reality to make her news entertaining. Being a staff reporter at a newspaper, I do not want to be the ‘Rita Skeeter’ in the eyes of my readers. 

Every journalist must try their best to be creative enough to attract their reader’s attention, and should make sure that the news presented is not twisted from the reality. With rights come responsibilities, and those responsibilities must be shouldered properly. Presenting news in an entertaining manner might not give an instant output, but the effect accumulates to bring unwanted consequences.