The Kenya Media Week forum happened last month and the following are highlights picked up from the discussion.
Due to the rise of fake content being circulated, most editors are very curious to know where journalists source their stories from. They often ask questions like, " What do you know? " and " How do you know it? ". This is not because they don't trust the journalists, but to ensure that the stories are verified. Most media houses/journalists are sometimes misled by their sources of information. Stories have to be counter-checked because almost everyone wants to avoid being sued for defamation.
According to a particular news research, fake news outranks real information and circulates six times faster than real news.
Who is to blame when it comes to fake news?
a) Content creators or mainstream media for not counter-checking news being released. With constant verification of news items, we will be able to do away with fake news.
Most bloggers are not journalists; they lack certification and knowledge in the journalistic code of conduct. They mostly publish their opinions on issues, not the real side of the story.
In Brazil and some countries in Europe, Facebook is working with fact checkers who help in verifying account holders and the information they share.However, for those with no certification in Journalism, they can take digital literacy classes that will enable them to verify how true a story or a video is.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google have a big responsibility of counter checking the content being shared. A journalist should focus on accuracy more than the urgency of releasing news. This would also help curb fake stories.
Journalism is a calling. If you are in the newsroom with no skill, you will crumble and crash. You must be good at it, have a passion for it and have a thick skin. Most media houses are in search of multi-media journalists, who can write, report and edit. That is where the future of journalism lies. According to Paul Wafula, a story is not as important as your life. However, as a journalist, it is your responsibility to protect your source even from your editors if need be.
Most of the speakers mentioned that journalism is not an easy profession. A person should have self-drive rather than waiting for an opportunity to get to them. " Do something. Create portfolios; you will get noticed."