PAPER: Six ways journalists can better help democracy

Untitled by Unsplash, licence CC0 1.0

Instead of pining over the “good old days”, news organisations should adapt to the modern media landscape and continue to support democracy in new ways, Anders Hofseth, a journalist at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism fellow, writes. During his fellowship Hofseth interviewed 18 journalists, scholars, and social media company employees.

The point for departure of Hofseth’s study was the declining status of professional journalism in modern societies. If journalism is indeed important to democracy, journalists must reinvent their practices lest democracy be damaged, the author writes.

Hofseth identified six, broad rules-of-thumb which journalists can fairly easily employ in support of democracy:

1. Understand and engage social media.
2. Listen and adapt to your audience’s needs.
3. Proactively fact-check rumours and claims.
4. Give audience the “big picture”.
5. Stick to doing good journalism.
6. Make content interesting, understandable, and accessible to readers.

Hofseth’s fellowship paper “Make yourself useful” is freely available on the RISJ website (open access).

Picture: Untitled by Unsplash, licence CC0 1.0.

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