Top 6 | by Chris Scott
The United Nations General Assembly declared Thursday, May 3 World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom and remind governments they have a duty to respect and uphold free expression, as detailed in Article 19 of the 1948 declaration of Human Rights (modelled, by the way, on Morris Shumiatcher’s 1947 Saskatchewan Bill Of Rights). Media has a key role in reaffirming the values on which democracy was built! We have a lot to be thankful for with a free press. Here are six specific things.
1 Journalists Cover War
War correspondents have existed since there have been, well, wars. Before modern journalism, histories of battle were written at the end of the conflict. Early film and TV just took film from different sources and added narration. With Vietnam, TV networks sent cameramen and reporters from the world to view the conflict personally, which led to public discourse on mediated conflicts.
2 Bias Busting
Good journalists strive to tell stories accurately and fairly and to do that they ruthlessly challenge their own biases — even at crazy newspapers like Planet S. This professional obligation to constantly self-examine biases makes for quality reporting that you aren’t guaranteed to get on, say, Facebook. Not everyone does it — Fox News is a classic example of high-bias media that pretends it’s “fair and balanced” — but if you have good news sources, you’ll have a better grasp of the facts, which will help you make up your own mind on issues.
3 Journalists Work 24/7
With the Internet and 24-hour news channels, journalists have more responsibility than ever. That 2 a.m. fire? On it. Thank Saskatchewan journalists for their exhaustive, and exhausting, coverage of major events like the Coulten Boushie shooting and subsequent trial, and the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.
4 Journalists Share The Good As Well As The Bad
Life sucks and people can be horrible. How about a feel-good story about a dog rescue, or an uplifting individual success story? It’s not all bad news. Think of all the times a news story has made you happy, or brightened your day.
5 Journalism Changes With The Times
Legacy media isn’t dead, it just shares space with social media (the latter’s ’s accountability currently being rightfully challenged after Russian hacking). Meanwhile, journalists work harder than ever to expose fake news to a public that sometimes seems to not care.
6 The News Is About You!
Good journalism gives back to the community, which is why local newspapers are so important. At the end of the day, we’re all global citizens living locally who need to know what’s happening in our immediate world. Your local press cares about you! This World Press Freedom Day, why not return the favour with a subscription or donation to your favourite media outlet? Because even a free press has bills to pay.