The roles played by journalists seem never-ending and ever-changing. One thing (among many) that has really put true journalism to the test is ethics within the industry.

In 2022, journalists are faced with the challenges of reporting in a “post-news” world and figuring out how to heed to the trends of digital consumption — while still making a profit. And, with all of this going on, they still have to find a way to be the voice for many diverse groups.

Interested in finding out how journalists can keep up with all of this? media update's Lara Smit delves into why journalists need to keep up with these trends and how they can address them.

Let's get right to it:

1. Light your reader's fuse in the world of "post-news"

In 2022, journalists are finding themselves in what Shalabh Upadhyay refers to as a "post-news" environment. They are tasked with having to get people passionate about news stories again. But what does “post-news” mean?

Well, with the Internet being such a penetrable space, people are bombarded with misinformation, disinformation and fake news. And, all this has done is give the media industry a bad reputation and made audiences lose their trust in it. Therefore, people exist in a world where news is dismissed because audiences no longer know what to believe.

The reality is that 2022 will be yet another year where people doubt the validity of the media. And, with people losing faith in the industry, journalists have to find ways to prove that they are indeed relevant and trustworthy. But how?

Journalists need to cut through the noise and make their stories valuable to readers. But, most importantly, they need to prove their credibility, which — according to Upadhyay — "is often more related to the process of the outcome than the outcome itself."

When put plainly, this means that journalists are required to put all their cards on the table and be transparent with their audiences. They have to be honest about how and where they get their information (while adhering to the law, as well as the privacy of those who wish to remain anonymous).

Journalists will also be required to rely more on data journalism. Why? A general distrust in the media means that people want facts from reliable sources. They want journalists to outsource credible information and present it to them in a way that they can understand it.

Additionally, journalists must try to be as objective as possible. This is so that they present readers with facts instead of information skewed by their own opinions.
One way that journalists can ensure their work stays objective is by reminding themselves that their role is not to persuade but to inform.

2. Become relevant to readers (who are now listeners)

In 2022, we are witnessing that the media is making a massive shift into the audio space. More and more publishers are investing in podcasts. In fact, the Reuters Institute predicted that 80% of resources will be going into the development of podcasts and other forms of digital audio. What's more, is that we're also seeing Meta hop onto the audio trend by announcing two of their new audio products.

The first is a Live Audio Room where people can come together on Facebook and Messenger to chat. The second is Soundbites, which is a short-form version of audio that will be available across all Meta products.

So, what does this mean for journalists?

Once again, journalists are going to have to find ways to cut through the noise (quite literally in this instance). With millions of people taking to the Internet to share their stories, news can easily get lost in the sea of voices.

But, on a more positive note, audio offers journalists the opportunity to create more conversational forms of reporting. Not only will this appeal to younger audiences, but it will encourage more engagement as people want to get involved in the discussions. It also makes consuming media a lot easier because people can listen to these audios while they are cooking, cleaning or even on their way to work. Therefore, we may see more people consuming news because the process is a lot less tedious for them.

Journalists and publications can make their audio clips easy to find by creating profiles on available platforms that people can follow or subscribe to, or even creating their own audio platforms. An example of this is seen with the New York Times’ development of an audio journalism app. How cool is that?

3. Be an instrument in inclusivity

It is imperative for a journalist's stories to reflect the world, their audiences, as well as inform and educate their readers about issues they may not have been paying enough attention to. Therefore, journalists need to layer their content with different voices and contrasting perspectives. There also needs to be more journalists that directly address the topics of:
  • race
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • mental health, and
  • disabilities.
Why? The answer is put quite simply by Forbes: "Media defines culture, and culture defines change."

By addressing sensitive or problematic topics, journalists chisel away at the stigmas that surround them. Furthermore, issues that have never been addressed will receive the attention that they need to put the right support structures in place for the future.

By giving a voice to the voiceless, not only do people get the representation and validation that they need, but the stories of unsung heroes finally get the recognition that they deserve.

Lastly, it will also encourage people to be more vocal about their feelings and circumstances, which allows them to receive affirmation as well as receive help wherever it is needed.

What are some other ways you think that journalists can cut through the noise? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to know more about some of the best practices in journalism? Then be sure to check out these Four important principles of journalistic ethics to keep in mind. 
*Image courtesy of Canva