Recently, journalists have faced an increasing number of attacks on their credibility and have endured unfair criticism from the American public.
While journalists have always had critics, the threat to the profession has been rising. During and after the presidential election, people have been labeling certain media outlets as fake news whenever they disagree with the content.
Fake news does exist, but real journalists do not write or spread this garbage. Journalists are needed in society because they play the vital role of gatekeeper and watchdog reporter.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll surveying more than 14,300 people released in October 2017 and found that more Americans are beginning to trust the media again, despite the Trump administration’s constant claims that the mainstream media organizations are biased.
Last November, the Reuters/Ipsos poll said that 39 percent of adults had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press. The latest data shows that this number rose to 48 percent as of September.
The poll also said that the percentage of people who said they had “hardly any” confidence in the press dropped to 45 percent from 51 percent over the same period of time.
While many still may not trust the media, it is a good sign that the public is beginning to place their faith back into journalists. However, there is still a long way to go because not even half of those polled have a great deal of trust in the media.
This decrease in trust began to spiral out of control during the presidential election and it is a problem for our country. People were too quick to label media outlets as fake news if those outlets did not match up with their political beliefs. Pointing fingers at the media and saying they are fake has not done anyone any good.
A journalist’s duty is to serve the public and keep them informed on what is going on in society. Journalists are needed to report the truth and help the public discern between fake news and the truth. Real journalists are ethical and they want to make a positive difference through their reporting.
We need journalists because they play the role of a watchdog. They hold public and government officials accountable for their actions and attain information that normal citizens cannot get themselves.
Whatever your political affiliations are, journalists are an essential part of our democracy. We need them to find out the truth and tell the public when they are being lied to by officials. The media is not the enemy of the public, they are on its side.
Without journalists, there would be no one to look out for the public’s best interests and get to the bottom of the truth. The public needs to have more faith in journalists because whether they like it or not, the media is essential to keeping the government in check.
Samantha Todd is a junior journalist major from Middlesex, N.J.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org