The challenges of digital journalism

Digital journalists now have at least as many challenges as the traditional journalists, because they’re asked to exercise their job with extreme respect to the basic and elementary principles of the profession and, above all, to the objectives of serving the cause of freedom of expression, which is the foundation of any democratic society.

While the mastery of technologies and new redacting structures, that emerge during this transformation process, are basic requirements for the exercise of high-quality journalism, it’s indispensable for the press to sustain the sense of duty for our democratic society.

When it’s their turn to deploy their skills as professionals in a quite predominant digital environment, they’re required to treat data-verification protocols with extreme care and seriousness, while also avoiding and combating the everyday spread of fake news, a huge challenging issue.

A high-quality job, which must be preserved above everything else within the digital ecosystem, rest on the reliability and credibility of the contents. Our society simply can’t make correct and well-founded decisions if it lacks true and verified information, nor if the freedom of expression is constrained by censorship or by interference from public or private sectors that try to either crush criticism or entirely hide the truth itself.

These guiding principles of the professional journalism have, as they should, a decisive weight in the effort of healing the deep wounds of skepticism that crop up in a large portion of today’s audiences, proven to happen mostly among young women, who are much more likely to perceive the news they consume as biased or manipulated.

Journalistic researches help and will continue to help preserving these rigors, as well as the schools of journalism and institutions of the state that ensure a professional education curriculum to extend media literacy through critical reading, both for traditional and digital media.

The media, in turn, should make all efforts to adapt to innovations, although this isn’t particularly easy, since the appropriate technological applications for the dissemination of news and contents through the networks are happening with such intense speed that not even the faculties of journalism have enough time to adjust, update and keep up with the curricular plans, at the same pace.

Digital journalists must know that their job doesn’t consist in simply being slaves of a screen, instead, the news must be thoroughly researched so their point of origin must be found, this involves talking to people, checking plenty of sources and collecting the many edges of an event, without yielding to the temptation of promptness being the main factor of the news.

And to reach this level of quality, the first and most essential thing is to be a great writer, yes, as simple as that.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.