Bingqing Mao

Wisdom Journalism: Calling For Responsibility and Credibility


Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto/agsandrew

Internet and smartphones provide people with various ways to process the information and news in the fastest way possible. As the technology developed, people pursue speed more than ever. In order to adapt a world where everything is instant, even the information, many journalist also choose to produce instant news reports. They use “sexy” headlines to attract audiences and ignore the content, leaving story empty and meaningless. As a result, news media now facing the problem of losing credibility.

In Beyond News: The Future of Journalism, professor of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute Mitchell Stephens introduces a new term called “wisdom journalism.” He said the wisdom journalism is a term suggested by wisdom literature and wisdom philosophy. It refers to a tradition of thoughtful advice, good judgement, insight and sagacity and also strengthens our understanding of the world.

Simply relaying messages is not enough for journalists. Before journalists are writing stories, they need to consider what is best for society; during the writing process, they need to have a wide-range of knowledge on a lot of subjects to understand the root of an issue. That way, the audience will have a clear impression of the event and can judge for themselves. Wisdom journalism “has been tested and strengthened by exposure to contrary opinion”.

Certainly many journalists are losing jobs. Even though most journalists are employed, they think they are underpaid, so they don’t want to give much effort to write a report. It is true that meeting the requirements of wisdom journalism would give journalists more pressure to perform, but it also can be a chance to build journalist’s brand and reputation.

On the other hand, people also demand a greater level of experience or expertise in some areas to cover a story. Since the competition of news media is so tough, the audiences have lots of options to choose. If you don’t do the hard work of your story, they can switch to another journalist or media easily to get what they want. Then more audiences would rush into “journalism sites that interpret the news as thoroughly, reliably and adeptly as newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post have repowered news,” according to Beyond News: The Future of Journalism.

Wisdom journalism is calling for the responsibilities and credibility of journalists. By journalists practicing wisdom journalism, they are prepping for the future journalism. This new term also suggests that when we talk about the development of media, that technology is not everything. Before the high-tech, journalists should regain credibility and try their best to make content more meaningful and beneficial to the reader. After all, the original purpose of news media when developing mobile device applications is to attract more audiences.

As far as the audience reading habits, maybe we can find a balance between speed of production and the quality of a story and learn to serve the society better in the future.

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