What Does Good Journalism Mean To You? The Wisdom Of Scoop's Crowd
Report Compiled By Audrey Seaman
Videos by Olexander Barnes
Over the past year, Scoop has been building a platform – the New Scoop – to support public interest journalism and create a better future for the news. Scoop is now working to create a strong foundation for investigative journalism to thrive. Scoop wants to seek truth and report on it, minimise harm, act both independently and honestly, and hold itself accountable.
When Scoop became a not-for-profit in September, it opened the decision making processes to members. As contributors to the New Scoop (people who say they would like to assist with the project) signed up on takebackthenews.nz they were asked to share their thoughts on what good journalism meant to them.
Scoop contributor Alessandra Nixon feels good journalism is important because it helps inform the general public and breaks down complex political and social issues. “At its best, good journalism holds those in positions of power to account, it incites debate and tackles the difficult or uncomfortable issues,” Nixon says. “It should present stories in a way that help people understand the issues and makes it relevant to them. It should be well researched and honest, but also a great story.”
Contributor John Smythe says good journalism should represent the public interest in an informed and constructive way and contributor Peter Rajsingh wants journalism to be “independent, probing, snappy writing”.
Scoop contributor Michael Smythe says it needs to be “well researched, accessible, informative writing that challenges readers to consider where they stand”.
Scoop contributor Kane Hogay says journalism should be well articulated facts that allow for what isn’t known. Good journalism should have “transparency, honesty, passionate curiosity, that doesn't need to know it all, but holds up what is current and unfolding as clearly as possible”.
Contributor Aaron Dahmen says “good journalism is something that is tangible and investigates issues that affect the public directly.”
For contributor Ian Pattison, good journalism should educate, entertain and inform. “It is important that journalism distils information into forms that people can easily digest; but it is also important that there is content that attracts viewers or users in the first place,” Pattison says.
Contributor Ken Sparks says good journalism needs to be “truthful and thoughtful reporting with a good balance of opinions from those involved”.
Contributor Nick Van Dijk says journalism should have the “freedom to approach and reveal truth; particularly in times when the door is often closed to it, there is a glossy sheen over the mainstream and disinformation is often peddled as gospel. Good journalism inhabits the principles of the fourth estate.”
Contributor Lloyd Chapman says “the demise of our national dailies is the cause of great regret to me.”
Scoop contributor Ric Creasy says the mainstream media is dominated by corporate interests and partisan political views. “I look for a balanced viewpoint which doesn't exclude opposing views, is well researched and has no overtly corporate or extreme political agenda,” Creasy says. “For me good journalism should provide insights and analysis of events that help me to understand them more clearly and put them in proper perspective.”
Creasy says Scoop’s best journalist is Gordon Campbell. “His posts on the TPPA have kept me right up with the play and have been invaluable for researching posts for my own site. Jane Kelsey is another journalist I rate very highly.”
For contributor Sarah Reese, good journalism is about integrity. “It's about being aware of the power of language and the media and using that power responsibly,” she says. “The media has a huge impact on how we see and interpret the world around us, and therefore it needs to be careful not to perpetuate harmful stereotypes or agendas in the name of sensationalism or the bottom line.”
“Moreover, to write well it is necessary to be able to see not only where other people are coming from, but also where you stand on an issue, and to be willing to interrogate both perspectives to come to a balanced conclusion,” Reese says. “This means making the effort to do thorough, accurate research, being open to debate and discussion, and being willing to cultivate an honest understanding of your own blinders and biases. True objectivity is perhaps impossible, but the more aware we are of our own underlying values, the better we are able to rationally debate controversial topics and the more open we can be to other points of view. Good journalism isn't about telling other people what to think, but giving them the tools to think for themselves.”
Contributor Leah Garcia-Purves says good journalism needs to be transparent and impartial. “Unless it's an opinion piece, journalism needs to be neutral to let people make up their own minds; facts speak for themselves,” she says.
Scoop contributor Cliff Laird says journalism needs to consider the causes of a situation, not the symptoms. “It is even handed in gathering and sharing information from all perspectives. Those that ask questions, and not accept statement on face value.”
Contributor Ryan Mearns says “good journalism is compelling story telling that informs the public about the world around them - matching up the way the world is and the way they see the world”.
Contributor Simon Vita says he wants journalists to lay the information bare. They should be should be “knowledgeable people given the time and space to dig beneath the surface”.
Contributor Timo Franz says “good journalism exposes facts and information so that the reader can form an educated opinion, independent of political pressures and financial incentives, thus providing orientation in regards to relevant topics”.
For contributor Pubudu Senanayake, good journalism means finding and reporting on the facts and not being swayed by economic, ideological or political interests. “It means verifying - without economic considerations - the truth of the issues being reported,” Senanayake says. “To clarify, there should be no cost benefit analysis when attempting to find out whether a certain point is true. If unsure, it should be explicitly stated. It means holding the power structures, both corporate and governmental, to account and to transparency. It means holding the public interests above all else and believing that the public is entitled to free and open access to the knowledge and information on the workings of their world. It means, even at personal detriment, holding to the integrity of the above qualities.”
Contributor Amanda Vickers says good journalism is unbiased against the underdog! “It is well researched, referenced and quoted and brings important information to the people in an interesting way,” she says. “Access to good journalism should be a fundamental part of our democracy.”
Scoop contributor Joseph Cederwall says, “I strongly believe journalism in the modern day must shift from a broadcast model to a more participatory and collaborative process of information sharing”.
“The Journalist's role today is to gather, assess and curate information from reliable sources and to allow the reader to access and interact with this information in meaningful and innovative ways,” Cederwall says. “A good journalist should entertain, educate and inspire readers to action.”