How Can the U.S. Media Improve Reporting?

Media has a significant role to play in societies. The role of media in a society transcends the entertainment most media stations offer their loyal viewers. Journalists inform people on occurrences that would otherwise go unnoticed, thereby acting as a catalyst for societal change and development. The media in the U.S. had come under criticism due to the intense scrutiny directed at it and the many shortcomings noted by observers. Cognizant of the information above, this paper discusses methods through which the U.S. media can improve reporting.

  • Accuracy

Foremost, it is prudent that the media in the U.S. reports truthful and verifiable information. Journalists and media stations must undertake their mandate to prevent the sharing of any distorted and misleading information. Fake news is a pertinent issue in the U.S. media and has led to a decline in public confidence in the press (Carlson, 2020). Ensuring that information is accurate is a significant step towards improving reporting.

  • Transparency

Secondly, improving transparency is another effective method to enhance media reporting. Transparency is linked with fake news, whereby media houses and personnel gain from wrongful reporting (Carmichael, 2017). The media must identify conflicts of interest and disclose them to ensure communication is transparent (SPJ code of ethics – Society of professional journalists, 2014). Thus, transparency in reporting can improve reporting by U.S. media.

  • “Act Independently

Thirdly, the media should ensure it adheres to its obligation to serve the public by acting independently of internal and external influences. To that end, the press must not collude with people in need of monetary gains or otherwise to get information. Conflicts of interest must also be shunned or disclosed where need be. The media has been on the limelight for focusing on profits rather than serving the public (Carlson, 2020). Therefore, acting independently will lead to improved media reporting.

  • Plagiarism

Additionally, the media should ensure it credits any third parties that are the origin of any news. Whenever the failure to credit is done as a mistake of omission, credit must be given with due prominence at the earliest convenience. Ensuring that the originator of the information is credited is a significant way to improve media reporting in the U.S.

  • Privacy

Ensuring informants’ privacy or people at the centre of news can help improve media reporting. The media has been accused of sensationalism in a bid to enhance its viewership (Carmichael, 2017). Sensational stories include murder, scandals, rape, and other crimes. The U.S. media must ensure it respects people’s privacy involved in sensational news headlines. Moreover, the informants must be protected unless public interest greatly outweighs the need for privacy.

  • Advertising

Moreover, ensuring proper guidelines relating to advertisements and promotional materials can help improve media reporting in the U.S. Carlson (2020) postulates that ads are a significant source of income for media. The media has been accused of overemphasising profits rather than passing information (Estonian Press Council, n.d.). The media must distinguish between news items and promotional materials to ensure the numerous advertisements on social media do not mislead people.

  • Justice

Media should also ensure it does not obstruct criminal investigations thus obstruct justice for people. Carmichael (2017) opines that the U.S. media has in the past been accused of sensationalism as they seek to gain more viewership and associated superiority over rival media outlets. However, sensationalism often obstructs justice since it enables perpetrators of crimes to cover their tracks. Additionally, perpetrators know they are being hunted and hide. Therefore, media houses should strive to ensure their actions do not impede justice for people.

  • Sources

Furthermore, journalists should respect their sources of news items. The mistake made by many journalists is promising people rewards in exchange for information. Journalists must meet the promises they make to their sources of information (Press Council of U.K., n.d.). Additionally, information obtained must be gotten honestly and truthfully. For controversial sources, it is prudent that journalists verify the authenticity of the information they get. Consequently, media reporting will be enhanced.

  • Discrimination

Moreover, media reporting can be improved by avoiding discrimination. Journalists must strive to ensure that they do not make pejorative reference in relation to any aspect of a person (Press council code, n.d.). People are diverse in many different ways. In the past, journalists have been accused of discrimination based on sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation (Carmichael, 2017). Ensuring that equality is given to people regardless of their differences is a significant way of improving media reporting in the U.S.

  • Harassment

Lastly, media reporting can be improved by ensuring journalists do no engage in intimidation as they seek information. Additionally, journalists should desist from pressuring people to give them information of any kind since that counts as harassment (Press Council of U.K., n.d.). The media has been accused of intimidating people searching for newsworthy items. Therefore, reducing intimidation can significantly improve media reporting in the U.S.

The significance of media in society cannot be undermined. However, the importance of media is diluted by a tarnished reputation. It is prudent that journalists and media houses in the U.S. strive to improve their reputation to restore public confidence in media.