Recently, I was standing outside of a restaurant waiting for it open for brunch, when this seemingly nice man came to wait for the doors to open as well. We exchanged pleasantries and talked about Atlanta United winning the MLS Championship. However, when he found out I was studying journalism, everything took a turn.
Granted, I am used to being talked at about fake news, alternative facts, and how the media is biased, but this time it was something different. The man had respect for journalists, just not in your ordinary way.
He was talking about how journalism is a respectable career but that current journalists aren't doing it justice. He talked about how he sees Russia controlling our media and how journalists are not doing their due diligence to make sure everything they are posting is real.
This made me think. I am used to being told about how liberal and anti-Trump the American media is (except Fox, of course. All my haters love Fox News), but do more than just this man think that the media is not truly digging for facts and checking to make sure they are true? I'd never heard before that American journalists are doing Russia's dirty work.
As someone who wants to be the future of journalism, I think every day about how to fix the "fake news" world that we live in today, but if people truly think that the media does not work hard to bring true facts (I know all facts should be true, but in today's world I feel the need to differentiate between alternative facts and true facts) to the consumers, then how should journalism change this?
With every article, package, broadcast, Instagram post, etc. should media outlets have to post the steps they went through and evidence found to show that the story is truthful? Should media outlets have to make sure they are able to prove that the facts did not come from Russia by having a bibliography like my 10th grade English essays?
Journalism is only as useful as long as those consuming believe it. Obviously, at least one man does not believe that is reported as being Russian propaganda, so there have to be more.
Because of this one conversation before my mediocre brunch, I will forever change the way that I think of journalism and the way I go about producing my content. I am in journalism to inform the people, but if I am not believed then what is the point of even trying to do this job? It is insane how life can change just because of a bump in with someone who does not think the way you do.