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My Musings


02Oct

Solid Reporting Still Critical

Honest, professional storytelling lies at the heart of good journalism.

But coupled with this there must be ongoing training and upgrading of resources for journalists, especially in the digital age.

This was the view of CNN Senior Vice President of International News-gathering, TV and Digital, Deborah Rayner, as she delivered the keynote address at the T&T Guardian’s Journalism Conference, titled Journalism in the Digital Age, at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Noting that the T&T Guardian had turned 100 this September, Rayner said the paper was now in an exciting time as there were tremendous opportunities, like a variety of social media platforms, to reach more audiences.

“We are in the middle of a huge experiment. I don’t think anybody can predict what the next opportunity would be. The industry has changed and we have to change also. Honest, professional, solid journalism is at the root of it all,” Rayner said.

Regarding the impact of social media, she said more than 60 percent of people in the United States now take their news from a mobile device.

Saying it was important that media houses “go to the audience instead of the audience going to them,” Rayner added, “We have to experiment with a lot of different platforms. We have to invest in new technology and quite often new staff. The core of this is our journalists. They have to be trained and multi-skilled to survive and if you have regulations to prevent this then that has to change.”

On new forms of storytelling, Rayner said audiences crave additional details but this must also entail transparency.

“Once you have engaged the audience don’t forget to tell the story. In the instances of the hurricanes which many islands have just experienced, the real stories now are the follow-ups ... the rebuild,” Rayner said.

Speaking earlier, GML board chairman Peter Clarke said the Guardian’s centenary should not just be celebrated but should also include meaningful contributions to society.

“As we look at the future of Guardian Media, we see a media world that is exciting and challenging,” Clarke said.

He said it was exciting because the digital revolution had opened up a number of opportunities to shape a new media landscape. However, he added it was challenging because this new digital landscape was transforming the economic model of the industry and bringing with it numerous issues with which to grapple.

“For instance, while it effectively allows anyone to become a virtual one-person media house, it also brings the dangers of fake news or unfiltered hatred, given the lack of curation or editing,” Clarke said.

But he said if well understood and used, journalism in the digital age could be an incredibly powerful force for good.

“It can lead to a more creative and bolder type of journalism, help force increased transparency and it can have the ability to hold those in power to account more effectively,” Clarke added.

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