Keeping them Honest

Monday, April 11, 2011

An article recently posted at Suite101 posed an interesting question: How can media and news outlets report the truth when they depend on sponsors that keep them in business being happy?

The point is that any news organization's decision regarding what stories to run or who to investigate will take into account how those investigations or stories might affect the groups giving them millions of dollars.

This is especially true in a modern setting when print media needs every bit of revenue anyone will throw at it. Organizations can no longer just decide to drop a sponsor for the sake of reporting the truth.

Because of all this financial pressure companies are able to do more than just keep the media from covering something: it can actually dictate what the media covers. This whole situation is even more complicated because of the wide outreach many conglomerates have, one large company really controlling dozens of others that have a wide range of interests and ventures.

The question is how can journalists still maintain a commitment to the truth with all of these outside influences "pressuring" them to say one thing or another? Without a significant change in the nature of journalism, the best anyone can hope for now is that no one is corrupt and that a PR-damaging story doesn't surface about someone barely related to a sponsor.

Photo Credit: pbutke via Creative Commons


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