OK, journalists, break’s over. “Nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate,” said Will McAvoy in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom.” In other words, the days of us waiting for the next public relations handout, figuring out a way to make it entertaining and nonoffensive and calling it “news” are over.
Or at least should be.
Instead, now is a great opportunity for us to do our jobs. We can and must cease being intimidated by threats of our stories being branded as “fake news” or “biased” or “mainstream liberal.” We must stop wasting our the readers’/viewers’/listeners’ and our time choosing to play it safe and write what they want to hear or read, not what they need to know.
There are risks. We could lose our jobs as reporters because advertisers don’t like the way we tell our stories, or editors and publishers may themselves be cowed by threats from politicians or business leaders who may have their paid-for images tarnished by facts.
Reporting truths is dangerous, yet we must pledge to get back to our avocation of, “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable” (Society of Professional Journalists).
Time to do our jobs, folks. The public has a right and a desire to know … the truth … and now.