Credible, Fact-Based Journalism Key to Combatting Fake News Scourge - Expert
A clarion call has been directed at media practitioners seeking honour for media practice to work at being credible for consumers of news content, as their credibility would enhance their unique selling proposition at any given time, especially in the era of fake news.
Guest Speaker, Mrs. Motunrayo Famuyiwa-Alaka, made the call at the Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, held on Wednesday, January 30, 2018.
Delivering a paper titled, “Investigative and Interpretative Journalism: Contemporary Practice, Profitability and Risks,” Mrs. Famuyiwa-Alaka, who was the Pioneer Coordinator, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), said that the present threat of fake and alternative facts presents great opportunity for credible reporters to distinguish themselves and help the audience to be better informed.
She noted that the integrity of media practitioners could never go unnoticed, as the teeming audience eventually will see through the fallacies peddled by proponents of fake news, and get to know the difference.
The business of interpretative journalism, according to the guest speaker, entails going beyond the regular reportage to providing background and scrutiny towards helping consumers of media products understand the subject matter, while the investigative reporter owes the same audience a duty to unearth facts that others don’t want revealed.
She advised the audience to be conscious of the fact that investigative reporting must of necessity be thorough and incisive, as it takes curiosity, hard work, financial resources, time and the ability to tell great stories to be successful in this area of journalism.
She highlighted key principles that must be adhered to during investigative reporting. These include agenda setting by the reporter, having the public interest at heart, and be sure that what is being investigated is something that someone plans to conceal.
She added that investigative reporting involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed either deliberately by someone in position of power or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding.
Mrs. Famuyiwa-Alaka, while noting the huge responsibility the constitution confers on media practitioners, stated that with the convergence of the old and new media, the media landscape is constantly evolving to meet up with current trends in terms of content creation, distribution, and consumption.
Responding to a question from one of the students, who wanted to know if the pursuit of a career in journalism can get one rich, the guest speaker posited that building goodwill is a critical capital that is highly needed if one intends to be successful and famous in the business of journalism.