5 Attributes of Responsible Journalists

Journalism is a broad and far-reaching subject but it can tell specific stories with all the details of events and scenes. The impression you get from the stories is only dependent upon how it is presented by the journalist. Many people have reacted wrongly to events because these were maliciously presented. This is the primary reason why the need for responsible journalism is a must.


If you are aspiring to become a journalist, you should know that your primary responsibility is to tell the truth – no more and no less. In order to become one, you must learn and develop specific qualities. These include:


1. Responsible Use of the Power to Influence


Journalistic content is produced by people connected with the broadcast and print media. As we all know, humans are not perfect and they have a tendency to become biased, selfish or self-serving. These traits can push them to twist the truth which is undesirable because journalists have the power to illicit strong reactions from their audience – and they can use it to benefit themselves or any entity they want to serve.


The power to influence people is a dangerous tool. You must use it only to promote righteousness and truth and not to instill fear or misinformation. For responsible journalists, truth is a commitment and not an option.


2. Act as a Watchdog


Journalists are expected to tell the truth but in the real world, it is not unusual to see some misguided individuals who are tempted to twist or even invent stories for selfish motives. This is also true with some people in authority who want to cover their faults with untruths. People in power can abuse their authority if their deeds are not reported to the general public. In this sense, it is important for journalists to act as watchdogs of society and gather and report facts in order to let people know that truth – that someone in power is using position to abuse other people.


3. Responsibility to Constituents


Without good journalists, being in the know of what’s happening in your country is a remote possibility. They are the emissary of trust and any stories they present to the public are taken as the truth. It is therefore imperative for journalists to pass on their stories as accurately as possible. It is after all their primary responsibility as a writer, correspondent or reporter and citizen of a country.


4. Promotes Public Discussion


Journalists are responsible for disseminating information for the public to know, analyze and discuss about. The people deserve to know details of every important event that happens in the country in general and their locality in particular. Being aware of the latest events will make people understand the current status of things that influence their lives.


5. Source of Credibility and Expertise


The proliferation of fake news has adversely affected the credibility of journalists. It is the reason why as a journalist, you should be consistent and committed to present only the truth as it happens. While you are entitled to your own opinion regarding the current events, you should present it in a different platform. But you must base your interpretations on the real event. As a reporter, analyst or columnist, you must not sail away from the truth. This helps to build your credibility and expertise on the subject you are trying to pass on to your audience.


These are the essential attributes a journalist needs to exude in order to win the respect and confidence of the people. This will also lead him / her to the right audiences. As a journalist, you must develop these attributes. You can learn them fast by joining a journalism training program hosted by trusted personalities in the industry.


image credit: Engin_Akyurt (pixabay.com)

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