The traditional characteristic of news has reformed during the media evolution (print to digital) in terms of veracity and priority. However, in his book ‘News Culture’, Stuart Allen states that “truth” is one of if not the most essential characteristic that should remain relevant and constant in this act of reporting.
In regards to online media, technology has ‘news’ placed on a double-edged sword dependant on its nature of reporting. On the plus side, technology has provided reporters and users with accessibility, research and resources. On the down side, anyone with access to the Internet may post baseless information that would spread to an unlimited audience. This provides a tricky obstacle for reporting, as the Internet is crowded with different kinds of news, not all valid in nature. An issue arises when influence affects unfamiliar audiences that are misinformed.
An example of this predicament would be the controversy surrounding President Trump and his accusation that top global news broadcasters such as CNN and MSNBC are discrediting him with “fake news”. On one hand, we have a man in charge of one of the most powerful positions in the world, accessing a public news and social networking service (Twitter) to post baseless accusations towards well-established news organisations that have provided valid evidence to back their investigative claims towards suspected illicit activities involving the president. Despite the legitimate reports, Trump’s tweets still garnered a heavy number of ‘likes/re-tweets’ from followers.
This short case study reflects the dangers of truth-less news online and the importance of it being otherwise. Technology amplifies the influence in misinforming the uninformed. In the case of Trump, the misinformation affects the political, social and economical strife concerning his tenure as president. Additionally, this situation also applies to day-to-day news where the disregard of truth may still lead to negative divides, actions or emotional states.