[In the news] Why the media should connect the dots – RAPPLER.com

Why the media should connect the dots – RAPPLER – Philippine News | Multimedia | Citizen Journalism | Social Media.

January 25, 2012

  What role should the media play in this historic impeachment trial of a chief justice?

Should it be a provocateur and spark debate and discussion, which hopefully, should be informed? Should it interpret and analyze events for the public to better understand the issues and their implications? Should it remain neutral and detached?

These questions call to mind the theories of the press, two of which are perhaps the most relevant to these questions. One is the libertarian theory and the other is the social responsibility theory.

Without having to sound esoteric, the libertarian theory essentially takes the position that every person is capable of deciding for himself what is true and what is false. Because this assumes access to information and an ability to process that information, the audience or the public are regarded as experts in their own right, completely capable of divining the truth in events.

On the other hand, the social responsibility theory goes beyond “objective” reporting and crosses over to what is referred to as “interpretive” reporting. The press assumes the role of an interpreter of facts and goes beyond a mere recitation or reporting of basic information – the who, what, where, when, why and how of an event. It does this because complexities compel journalists, whose objective is to enlighten a befuddled public, to do so.

As such, journalists make an effort to “report the truth about the fact” as the American Commission on the Freedom of the Press put it way back in the 1940s. This means explaining, analyzing, and making sense of events. It also means connecting the dots.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com


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