Being a journalist in “the world of lies”

Being a journalist in “the world of lies”

Ardan Zentürk- KGK Broad Media Council Member

In the days when calendars show the mid-1890s, even the two famous media bosses, the protagonist of the event, could not have predicted that a press rivalry in New York could have a story stretching back to today’s world.

I don’t know if they’re passing on that brutal news rivalry between the New York World and The New York Journal to young job candidates in today’s Journalism/Communication schools, but even the names of the event’s heroes are enough to attract attention.

I’m sure lay people knew those names well: Joseph Pulitzer owned The New York World, and he was not happy that William Randolph Hearst took the New York Journal and entered into a relentless competition with him. (Pulitzer was a name that, as a Hungarian refugee, started at the lowest level in the press industry and climbed to the top, before taking the world. He ran a modest publication called the St. Louis-Dispatch. Hearst, on the contrary, had opened his eyes to an extraordinary fortune, taking out his first newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, with money from the family budget, and buying the Journal to compete in the sequel.)

Hearst relied on his wealth, starting the business by selling the newspaper, which he normally had to sell for 2 cents, to catch the highest circulation. But then the rivalry between them gave birth to “Yellow Journalism”, the effects of which continue to the present day.

The concept of “Yellow Journalism” actually originated from the yellow ink, which was called “sensational” and used to immediately see headlines that were made up or existing at the table, which could attract the reader’s attention with forced comments.

It was a period when news produced at the desk overshadowed real developments, the reader was acclimated to lies rather than news, and thousands of books written on journalism, despite academic work, never disappeared. On the contrary, it was strengthened in the “information revolution” of the 21st century.

• “Online publishing and lies…

As a habit he uses the word “Online” more than the word “çevrimiçi (online)”, we live with it as a concept that will move from the 21st century, when the ground of journalism is shifting, to the next centuries. How can we assess that the rivalry in “online journalism” carries the lines of the Pulitzer-Hearst rivalry of the late 19th century?

Most of them do not exceed a minute, given raw with a natural sound effect and tried to preserve the action identity, videos arousing only 1 minute of interest in the viewer…
“Provocative identity” that tries to increase interest by turning an event into a title of coercion at the table…”
“Hard-to-describe” polemics produced every night from TV programs that bring the gladiatorial struggles of Ancient Rome to the screen in a “sparring format” rather than capturing the truth…”
An editorial collapse in which columnists increasingly turn to the field of personal competition and turn into a “center of false news production” in its own right…

Apparently, a process in which the concept of “quality” is pushed into the background in news and commentary, what is the importance of top-quality publishing if no one “clicks” on your internet news site?..

• The growing importance of journalism and ” lies…”

Can’t online broadcasting be prevented from turning journalism into “Yellow Journalism” in a general sense? It can but it is clear that this will take some time, as publishing in this area is the highest “click” under any circumstances.

In books or academic research on 21st-century journalism written not-so-long 15 years ago, you will see that journalism will change rapidly due to increased social media competition and “citizen journalism”, arguing that professional people will have very difficult days in the face of this competition.

It has even been suggested that journalism will enter the process of collapse, especially when smart mobile phones dominate life and images taken by people on the street with these phones are used on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, of course, YouTube.

It is a fact that journalists who try to make news work within the framework of the “code of ethics” dating from the 20th century to the present have suffered a shake-up in the face of these developments. But time, in early comments, worked in favor of those ethical rules that were “meant to be trashed.”

Those who argued that “information flowing from social media” would, in turn, disable the news centers of corporate media “citizen journalism” had forgotten a very important fact: reliability!..

I can go as far as Acta Diurna, published in ancient Rome in 59 BC, but since the publication of the “first newspaper out of the printing machine” Relation by Johann Carolus (1575-1634) as a German monthly magazine in 1605 in Strasbourg, which was located within the borders of the Holy Roman Empire at that time, the main basis of journalism has been “reliability” based on “accurate news”.

This is the beginning of a contradiction between the understanding of “traditional journalism” and the understanding of “online journalism”, which will only come to a certain compromise over time after passing through the filter of the experience that will be experienced.

“Traditional journalism” focuses on accuracy, the rigorous verification process before publication, balance, impartiality. “Online journalism” is about speed. For this reason, the accuracy of the news is formed by post-publication reactions, giving the wrong news first and then correcting it, unable to work in the field, trainee editors at the desk and partiality in the general sense.

For online journalism, status of “being biased” which is held onto in an effort to attract pre-prepared natural reader/audience, is in a very important dark spot in terms of ethics of traditional journalism, but this structure brings along “transparency” and announces the true identity of the news receiving source without any discussion beforehand, to the reader/viewer.

The radical technological change experienced in the understanding of publishing presents the following picture: The understanding of accurate and impartial journalism can turn into the understanding of journalism that can be “corrected and biased after publication”. I’ll tell you right away, it won’t be like this.

It is true that we are going through a period when the boundaries of the concept of “journalism” with other areas are somewhat blurred.

It is impossible for us to make recipes by putting aside the “political activist” identity of a journalist who continues “biased broadcasting” to get high number of “clicks”. We have to create recipes without ignoring that the traditional journalistic understanding of neutrality “in essence, not pseudo” reveals those who use the profession for their “political activism.”

How will journalists today struggle with “activist” identities and false/erroneous/directed (most commonly experienced in the field of economics/stock market) news arising from social media?

The answer is spontaneous in society’s preferences: the importance of publications and journalists, who complete traditional verification processes to achieve the “right news” and make the “truth” an impenetrable basis for corporate identity, grows stronger in contrast to expectations born 15 years ago.

Because you can deceive people for a short time with false/untrue/fictional news, we can also not lose sight of the fact that today’s person, who sees news as an important part of his life, or even as a guiding concept in future life plans, has strong reactions.

Famous for their works on the concept of “truth in journalism”, Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach’s description as “Right is a very complex concept, you must first clear incoming information from misenformation or disenformation, isolate it from interests and deliver it to the reaction of society” is important, but I would still prefer to add Carl Bernstein’s approach that “The determination of journalism actually means the truth that can be achieved”.

Because some truth can take time to come out.

It is a process for a commentator who has moved his academic position in the field of economics to the identity of a political activist to lie about the claims about the foreign exchange market on his Youtube channel, but this process also means the strengthening of the corporate media, which has shown the right goals.

It is important to note that football commentators do not have a duty to chase the truth. They can be wrong, but this delusion is not a delusion that directly touches people’s lives, it’s a little annoying, that’s all…

• Journalism has a “subjective” structure, so it is essential that it is “correct” …

As it is generally known “objective journalism” is an urban legend.

“Subjectivity” in news begins as soon as the reporter/photojournalist/cameraman reaches the scene of the crime. A behind-the-scenes development captured by the reporter in the incident, the photojournalist or cameraman getting very different images from their colleagues at the same crime scene, especially the visual work that supports the special dimension captured by the reporter, leads to the differentiation of the identity of that news. It is clear that a team that carries very different news from the same crime scene compared to its competitors also needs an editor who knows his job well, subjectivity in evaluating the news is strengthened at the editor’s desk.

David Broder of the Washington Post comments on this situation: my personal experience is that we find our way through the maze of facts in all news stories difficult. In general, we barely identify the main character at the center of the news, we notice the fiction of events a little late, our biases and wrong decisions are included in the news…”

At this point, again, the words of the Rosentsiel-Kovach duo come into play: the discipline of verifying news from all sources is the main feature that distinguishes journalism from show business, propaganda wheels and conspiracy theorists. Screenwriters try to walk with what they have created in their own dream world, the only truth that matters to the journalist is what is happening now…

In fact, these words are the product of dream worlds in columnists and TV discussion programs facts(!) and removes the blurring of the boundary that separates the journalist from the portraits that try to guide the discussions.