By James Patrick
In this our rapidly changing world where information (true and false) is within our finger tip, the dare need for probity, integrity, honesty, humility, amity, credibility and sincerity in the part of every journalist while he or she is reporting news, writing stories or collecting data for research purposes cannot be over emphasized.
You would all agree with me that we are in an information age and any misinformed, ill-informed, under-informed or an uninformed society in our rapidly changing world is seating on a keg of gun powder.
That is to say, such society is gradually heading towards what I call “self-alliniation.” Journalism simply put, is the job of collecting writing, documenting, disseminating, distributing and broadcasting useful information to the public which could take place via the following media, like: radio station, television station, newspaper, and recently , the social media.
Right from the advent of social media, journalism in our rapidly changing world has changed exponentially. Almost anybody on social media can collect, write and distribute information at the comfort of their bedroom using their keypad.
Today, Any person with an android device, a laptop can do the job of a journalist, even if not trained to do the job professionally. This is one of the reasons why we have alot of misinformation, half truth, hate speeches, unverified reports circulating in our society. In as much as there is little or nothing we can do to control public use of the social media space, I personally think that journalism in a rapidly changing world must be the business of everybody. The entire public must be trained on how to handle information.
Journalism should be a compulsory subject from secondary down to tertiary level in our rapidly changing world. Also, wide public orientation and reorientation among the youths, both on the part of those reporting and those receiving or consuming the information should be carried out. Any information in the public domain that does not contain; Facts and figures, Original sources, or Concrete evidence should be discarded.
As a Journalist, you are expected to maintain absolute neutrality and objectivity when filling your report or writing your story. You should be unbiased by stating where it happened, how it happened, when it happened and who it happened to. The public consuming the information also, must stop taking things at face value – they must look beyond the surface. There must be a good balance between what you hear, what you see and what you know. It is not everything you read online that is true. Its is not every article you read on people’s blog that contains fact. So it is you duty as a trained reader to dig deep, to dig deeper beyond what the blogger is saying on his or her post. Anything that does not appeal to the common sense should be discarded.
Any news or post that tends to incite readers into taking drastic or violent action should be verified thoroughly. This is because, Nigeria is a very fragile society where any little provocation can cause riots among the different ethno-religious groups we have in our society. We must all stand our ground to ensure we curtail hate speech in all our social media platforms, must especially at this time when Nigerians have become more divided than ever before.
In recap, journalism in a rapidly changing society like our’s it a two side of the same coin – its a business of everybody! Every man or woman is a journalist whether directly or indirectly and if journalism must be successful, all hands must be on deck to make our society free from fake news, bogus stories, half truth, hate speeches which are capable of sinking our Nation into a civil war. I must state it unequivocally here that, journalism is not a one man’s show. it is the job and also the responsibility of every citizen in the country.
BY; PATRICK JAMES