In the age of the Internet – a time when print journalism is on the decline as a viable means to obtain up-to-date news – journalistic integrity is as important as ever.
Evidenced by such organizations as The New York Times Company, which reported an 85 percent decrease in net earnings for the third quarter, the breadth and accessibility of Internet news sources is increasingly detrimental to print media.
According to a comScore report, The Times has even taken a hit in digital viewers, experiencing a 16 percent drop in unique visitors since April 2012.
Despite The Times’ statement that the data does not account for migration across platforms, it is apparent that the shift is germane to both the company’s, and print media’s, continued longevity.
As consumers continue to siphon through the plethora of Internet news sources, print media sources must remind readers that journalistic integrity and credible information is something only they can provide.
But as news agencies struggle to keep above water, we become increasingly subject to news based on spectacle, such as Dec. 4’s New York Post front page, which shows a picture of a man trapped on a subway track with a train approaching. The headline reads: “Pushed on the Subway track, this man is about to die.”
What does this say about journalistic integrity? Is this story truly front-page news – the most important story in the entire Dec. 4 edition of the New York Post? Or is it simply a lucky shot turned ploy to increase paper sales?
Roger Ailes, founder and chairman of Fox News, also recently called journalistic integrity into question. The Washington Post released a recording on Dec. 3, between Fox News analyst Kathleen T. McFarland and former Gen. David H. Petraeus wherein McFarland relayed a message from Ailes to Petraeus.
McFarland told Petraeus that Ailes would run any potential presidential campaign for Petraeus, and News Corporation head and owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, would “bankroll” the campaign.
Perhaps more alarming is the beginning of the recording in which McFarland spoke of Petraeus’ cordial relationship with Fox News. “Everybody at Fox loves you,” she said, and proceeded to ask Petraeus’ opinion of Fox’s reporting.
“The editorial policy of Fox had shifted,” Petraeus said. “It was almost as if, because they’re going after Obama, they had to go after Obama’s war as well.”
Much can be said about this blatant disregard for journalistic integrity and unparalleled bias from a large news corporation as News Corporation, but the bigger question is whether journalism has fallen into an ever-decadent era. With the inevitable growth of the Internet, and thus, unfiltered Internet news, the future of journalism, both as a news source and a profession, is being called into question.
In order to remind news consumers of the value of journalism grounded in dedication to quality and credibility, news companies, from The Times and the Post to News Corporation, must provide superior news coverage displaying unparalleled integrity.