Fake news, clickbait, biased media. We hear that thrown around a lot these days.

A lot of it is deserved. And a lot is thrown out by people who have done wrong things that when exposed find it easier to discredit the attacker than face the consequences.

But, I contend that if the media were doing its job, there would be no room for these attacks.

That then opens the question, what is the job of the news media.

It is simple, to report the news. To report the news without anger or bias. As Joe Friday was fond of saying, “Just the facts.”

As a reporter, it is not my job to tell you what to think about what is happening, it is to tell you what is happening and let you decide how you feel about it.

I might have an opinion on the subject, but if I have done my role properly, you will never know what it is. 

If I am reporting a County Commissioner Court session, all I should ever do is tell you or show you what was discussed, and what was said. You should be the one who decides if it was a good idea.

I should never comment on the guilt or innocence of someone, that is the job of a court.

I should never advocate for laws or policies to be passed or enacted. That is what elected officials and our system of government is for.

A democratic society depends on accurate information to function. For that, the citizenry should have faith in those that report the news.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of trust these days. And that is inherently dangerous.

I cannot change the landscape of media reporting, but I can tell you this:

I will do my utmost to never allow my personal feelings to sway my reporting or anyone who reports for me.

Whenever possible, I will allow the players of events to give their side without editing or paraphrasing their words. 

Story Over a Cup and whatever new name it might take is committed to the idea of building trust as an unbiased news source.

 

Michael Cole
Author: Michael Cole