Innovation in 2017

2017: The year we Make News Great Again

Written by William Ton

It is inevitable that as time goes on, change occurs. When change occurs, so does culture.

Since the election of President Trump, the political climate is extremely divided with people moving to the extremes of opposing ideologies around the world. People are increasingly becoming more suspicious of the traditional news organisations, with the president labelling them, fake news.

Bento’s Ole Reissmann is one of the contributors in NiemanLab’s Predictions for Journalism 2017. His prediction, Un-Faking the News, explains how fake news is thriving within the ideological bubbles and how it is up to journalists to infiltrate those groups with the aim to prove what is real or fake. By showing the public how the facts were attained and what constitutes as fact in that circumstance, journalists can cure the fake news disease.

It is extremely important in this climate to display transparency. The news consumers are on constant alert and questioning everything. With Trump continually undermining news organisations, it is up to journalists to show those who doubt us what the facts are and at the same time prevent other organisations with their own agendas to shape the news landscape.

Journalists need to show the public how they came to a specific conclusion. They need to explain what steps they took and how they took them. This would make our publications credible and allow journalists to hold those in power to account.

It has been even more important in recent times to improve the diverse representations within a newsroom.

The Washington Post’s Swati Sharma predicted in her piece, Failing Diversity is Failing Journalism, that newsrooms will improve their number of diverse staff to reflect society.

By involving more diverse staff reporters, the more genuine, trustworthy and relatable stories there will be for readers since diverse reporters will attract diverse audiences.

Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC, has also opened the door to more diverse reporters and staff after setting a 12 per cent target to reach by the end of 2018.

It is essential that if news organisations want to reach out to more people, they need to appeal to those people by having someone who is part of that community in the newsroom.

The ABC has increasingly included more diverse staff including presenters Kumi Taguchi, Stan Grant, reporter Iskhandar Razak and even the Managing Director Michelle Guthrie. There have been an increasing number of stories from those ethnic communities and an increased effort to provide a voice for the Aboriginal community in Australia.

It is no wonder that the ABC is the most trusted news source in Australia. They give the unheard voices a platform and reflect many views of a diverse country.

If the news media is going to regain its credibility, it must make the people believe again. By practising transparency and diversity, we will bring back journalism to its former glory.

About the author

William Ton

William is a second-year journalism student studying at RMIT University. His interests include politics, sports and current affairs.