Journalism's first commitment is to the truth.
But the current socio-political atmosphere is one that has been plagued with "fake news" and false information.
So what's the solution?
Throughout the years, many initiatives for the restoration of true journalism have formed and strengthened through the power of journalists and activists across the nation. These organizations often take the form of campaigns that push for fairness in publishing and reporting news. Such projects have had varying levels of success in reaching out to the public and calling for change in the current media ownership structure in American society. In one way, they act as a system of keeping governmental power in check by findings instances of violation to press freedoms. In another way, they distinguish themselves from large privately-run corporations by proving that their first and foremost commitment is to the truth and not financial benefit. While these organizations do not in any way obliterate the power of lobbyists and corporations that control much of the news and media industry, they are effective in attracting the support of the public which has become increasingly critical of the information they receive.
Many media activists today are organizing media reform campaigns and pushing for fairness in journalism. Groups such as FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), The Center for Digital Democracy, Free Press, and the Media Access Project are fighting to revive democracy in media reporting. One of these activists is Josh Silver, who is the executive director of Free Press. He says, "we now have a political system run by big money and a media controlled by big corporations that are happy to keep Americans uninformed about the bread-and-butter issues that affect us most. You can't have democracy without an educated public, and you can't have an educated public with the media ownership structure we have today."
Two of the most active organizations have been the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which are among more than 20 groups partnering to introduce a new website which tracks threats to press freedom in the United States. The U.S Freedom Tracker is also carefully involved in gathering data on arrests of journalists, physical attacks on reports, and prosecutions related to the legal spreading of information. Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation mentioned that, "With the Trump administration ramping up its war on journalism, this initiative could not come at a more important time. We hope it will be vital to highlighting the threats to press freedom in the U.S. and the important work journalists do to hold the government accountable."
The solution I propose to this issue is the expansion of organizations which aim to protect journalism and its right to exercise press freedom. This will involve organizing campaigns, creating a strong social media presence, designing information workshops across the nation, and developing methods that will extend the importance of relaying truthful information to the public. These organizations will also serve as means of gathering data on violations to Constitutional protections and act as a check on the kinds of information being spread on news and media. Such initiatives are ways to provide incentives for the public to gain access to news mediums that are committed to publishing and reporting factual information and who do not impose limitations on their journalists when it comes to supporting and publishing the truth.
This solution is a particularly strong one given that it plays an important role in bridging the gap between law and society. The public often feels separated from the law and from individuals who implement law by seeing legal doctrines as unattainable. By expanding organizations that work to bring fairness to journalism, individuals in society will be directly involved in supporting this cause. Constitutional rights will be practically implemented through the proper practice of researching, attaining, and reporting truthful information, which is the true purpose of journalism and the press.