There are very few industries that haven's been greatly impacted by the explosion of social media and the Internet. One of the most strongly affected is the business of delivering news. In many ways, the Internet has been a blessing, but it has also brought with it an unfortunate side effect. Now that speed and accessibility have been pushed to the forefront, there has been a drastic lowering of standards industry-wide. I strongly believe that our industry needs to tighten up and return to its roots. At no point should convenience trump the basic tenets of journalistic integrity.
This week, our community is reeling from the tragic murder of Westborough native Lizzi Marriott. While some media outlets will seek to release daily updates featuring hearsay gleaned from the Internet and other sources, we believe a more responsible course is to report on the human impact within our community and to be respectful to those who are grieving. In particular, we are most concerned about Lizzi's family and friends.
Just because media outlets have the ability to release an “update” every two hours, shouldn's we question if they are actually serving the right master? Is the mission to gain website traffic and Facebook clicks, or is it to report relevant news while maintaining journalistic integrity?
We at the Community Advocate strive to do the latter. That might mean less frequent updates, but we simply will not lower ourselves to quoting “unnamed” sources or publishing embellished headlines with dramatic phrasing, all for the purpose of a little more web traffic or a few new Facebook friends.
Although some local media outlets have been drawn in by the temptation to be the first and to be the fastest, despite the potential impact on the family and the community, we feel very strongly that there are things more important than simply being first.