May 13th, 2021

Real media are held accountable for the words we write

By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on April 29, 2021.

I’m often asked about the health of the Lethbridge Herald and newspapers in general. Most of the time it leads to a conversation about journalism in general.
The honest answer is nothing is what it was, the current COVID crisis has accelerated the changes in all forms of media including social media. I’m more concerned about a dysfunctional internet than I am about mainstream media and journalism. We hold ourselves to professional standards and accountability, the internet invites the worst among us to collaborate on false narratives to make their lunatic fringe feel empowered.
I recently watched an interview with Ricky Gervais; he may be offensive to some but the message he had regarding social media was eye opening.
“People started believing that their opinion was worth as much as the facts and that’s just not true, it came from people finding their groups, their mobs, on social media they found comfort with like-minded people.” He went on to say “people wouldn’t say things to your face that they say on Twitter, it’s like reading every toilet wall in the world.”
There are keyboard warriors everywhere, pretending to be media while all they are is opinionated and self-important.
The difference between what they do alone in their basements and what we do in the public eye is significant. It is our goal to report what is done and said from an objective point of view.
It’s our role to keep you informed: it’s your role to form your own opinion based on the facts presented to you.
From time to time we do have opinion editorials and columns written by our staff. They are designed to create constructive conversation and not to attack differing opinions; they are clearly marked as such and we believe you understand the difference between thought-provoking conversation and biased opinion.
We are not perfect: sometimes we get it wrong, but we own up to our mistakes and apologize.
Again, another key difference between reputable media and those who use fake names to hide behind disgustingly false claims.
We have to live with what we write and there is no hiding. Real journalism calls out hate and racism; social media invites them in for a friendly meeting.
It is frustrating to see, and hear, the social media rumour mill jump to be first and get it wrong so many times. If our paper wrote the same false rumours we would be held legally accountable. Social media just sluffs it off with “that’s what I heard” and zero accountability. It’s why we are seeing a trend back to mainstream media in general. More and more people are realizing that social media can’t be trusted, it has to be fact checked. Why bother reading “news” if you then have to check to see if the source is credible?

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