“Trust & accuracy are two key issues in journalism”

Experts stress on accountability in journalism, along with double & triple checking of facts, and minimal use of jargons

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 25, 2013 8:51 PM  | 5 min read
“Trust & accuracy are two key issues in journalism”

The world has become a much smaller place with the advent of digital media and social platforms. In the current scenario, when information and news floats around in real-time, the responsibility that journalists shoulder becomes even graver.

Trust, accuracy and accountability are the three pillars of business journalism when reporting in a global world. 

With an aim to educate young and upcoming journalists, and provide them with an opportunity to discuss new ideas with top editors and senior-most journalists from India and abroad, the High Commission of Canada in association with exchange4media organised a workshop on ‘Reporting on business in a global world’.

The eminent speakers who shared their thoughts at the initiative were TK Arun, Editor, Economic Times; Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor, Business Today; Karen Percy, Veteran Journalist; Stewart Beck, High Commissioner of Canada to India; Jose Martin Thakran, National News Editor, Mint; Penelope Macrae, South Asia Editor, AFP; Himangshu Watts, Editor of Energy and Infrastructure at Economic Times; Tarun Basu, Chief Editor, IANS; Govindraj Ethiraj, Former Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg UTV; and Ravi Srinivasan, Associate Editor, Hindu Business Line.

Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor, Business Today, Money Today and HBR South Asia said, “Business journalism supported with facts and figures is far better than most other forms of journalism, even better than writing about politics. The more contacts you have, the more powerful you are as a journalist.”

Taking about the calibrated approach to be followed in journalism, he said, journalism is not about sitting and chatting on the phone for stories. “Whatever sector you choose as a journalist, you should become an undisputed leader in that area.” According to Kalbag, accuracy, double and triple checking, and minimal use of jargons are key aspects of a good, well rounded story.

Sharing a similar view, TK Arun, Editor, Economic Times said that there is a need for print journalists to produce reports that are based on thorough research and in-depth analysis. He further said that there has to be accountability in journalism and only then it would be accepted.

Karen Percy, a veteran journalist and former correspondent at Australian Broadcasting Corporation said, “Trust and accuracy are the two key issues because callous reporting can be misleading and misguide readers to take wrong decisions. Journalism is an art of telling stories but with balance, objectivity and accuracy.”

Stressing on the role of ethics, Percy said that business ethics play a very important role and a journalist needs to be careful from getting influenced by corporations or governments.

Talking about integrated news room set up by Mint, Jose Martin Thakran, National News Editor, Mint said, “Time management is very important. Even though we start our day at 8:30 in the morning and work till 1AM, we should make sure that stories are filed at the right time. Need of the hour is to do right reporting work at the right time because it makes no point reading yesterday’s breaking news today. Updating your online websites with news instantaneously should be the call of every journalist with verified updates.”

Sharing insights on the need for Indian media to be more comprehensive, Stewart Beck, High Commissioner of Canada to India said, “Indian media needs to be more elaborate when it comes to global news. Rather than just focussing on selected countries such as US or England, it should focus on countries all across the globe, including Canada.”

Penelope Macrae, South Asia Editor, AFP stated that a journalist should always be on a look-out for sources because developing sources is one of the most important steps in journalism.

Himangshu Watts, Editor, Energy and Infrastructure, Economic Times felt that connection with the reader is the most important thing. “One should not assume that a reader knows everything and hence, we should always place a context in our story.” 

Calling value addition the order of the day, Tarun Basu, Chief Editor, IANS said that the challenge is in adding value because readers have several other alternatives such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. Basu said, “Online media and Twitter are the new sources of news for readers as they give information the moment any news breaks. Therefore, it’s essential on the part of every journalist to make value addition which would set his work apart from others and be of interest to the readers.”

Govindraj Ethiraj, Former Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg UTV spoke about the India growth story. He said that TV business news is just 10 years old in India as compared to many other countries. From just four main business news channels, we now have multiple, with TRPs being the main agenda. Hence, the quality has taken a dip.”

Advising young journalism students to carefully plan out their career move, Ravi Srinivasan, Associate Editor, Hindu Business Line said, “The notion that media is a field of glamour and provides instant fame gets many students rolling for this course despite their lack of interest.” Srinivasan added, “It doesn’t make any sense for students to opt for a journalism degree if they are not interested as this does not reflect well in their long-term growth.”

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