Is this fake news? Was this written by a hacker? Or a bot?
When everything is available everywhere, when facts, analysis, gossip and outright falsehoods jockey for attention, what's a newsroom to do to help its audience trust its content?
If it's the Washington Post, it creates a video series on "How to be a reporter."
As Michelle Jaconi, executive producer for the Post’s
video division, told Editor & Publisher, “There’s so much curiosity about what is real journalism, and our goal
is to show rather than tell. With the next generation on
Instagram and Snapchat, we can really promote transparency and our
reporting by adding a visual component like this.”
The series, which so far has covered such topics as the Alabama Senate race, FOIA laws and whistleblowing, rests on the concept of transparency. Showing your work may not have been fun in math class, but it does wonders for journalistic credibility.
“The way (Post investigative reporter) Scott Higham worked
sources is so much fun,” Jaconi told the magazine. “Not everybody can sit next to
Scott, but that doesn’t mean I can’t reveal a little bit of his
excellence in a fun way that readers might respond to.”
Speaking of fun, check out the installment featuring famous scenes from journalism movies, including "All the President's Men" on the Post's Watergate coverage:
"Nothing's riding on this," says Jason Robards as editor Ben Bradlee, "except the First Amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country."
True then. True now.