You Better Have an Explanation
From Robert J. Haiman’s Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists:
“’Connectedness’ has become one of the buzzwords of the national effort to restore credibility. One way to connect with a public that says it feels distanced from it newspapers is to explain to the public what the newspaper does and why” (41).
Giving an explanation to the public about why newspapers do what they do seems both practical and useful. First off, as Haiman highlights, many people do not understand journalistic practices. They may too quickly condemn something the newspaper does without understanding why. It will help the public better understand and through the understanding feel more connected to and more trusting of the news media. On another level, it will also force journalists to carefully evaluate their actions. If they are required to explain why they do or do not do something, they will be more likely to carefully consider what they print. Therefore, not only would journalists be forced to consider their decisions more closely, but the public would understand as well. It reminds me of in creative writing or as Dr. Jerz was explaining about using “said” in class, you have to have a good reason and explanation for what you do. It’s not arbitrary; there is reasoning behind your choices. My only concern was how you would go about doing this in a newspaper, but Haiman addresses this by given an example of what The Arizona Republic does. They have a separate daily column in their paper with explanations. I definitely think this is a practice which would benefit journalists and readers alike.
Read more on Haiman.