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Thoughts on the duties of media outlets

By Zachary Billiot
On March 16, 2017

In times like today, both small and large media are under constant scrutiny. Fact checking and honesty are a must and bias seems to run rampant. In the days where even our president constantly calls out various media outlets for being too biased and spreading misinformation, whether his claims have a basis or not, one can’t help but ask themselves, “What job does the media have?”

If you were to ask the everyday person, they would just tell you that unbiased truth is all there is to it. To their credit, that’s very much the case. But like everything else, it’s usually specific to each situation and comes with a variety of grey areas. To put it as plainly as I possibly can, all I have to do is reiterate this statement: the job of the media is to inform the people of the truth in an unbiased manner and give them a platform to have their voice heard.

But, what if your media source is small-scale and only limited to a certain area like The Lion’s Roar? Do they have to report on the same things that outlets like CNN and the New York Times who report on national and global events do? To an extent, I would say yes. Many things happen that affect people around the country and the world. Should the Lion’s Roar have to report on a recent story about an event that happened on the other side of the world? Well, no, not really. They could, but it falls well out of their range in terms of how many people will see it. There are so many things that happen in each community that big outlets will not cover. It’s up to the smaller media outlets to spread the news about what’s happening in their communities because it is a huge guarantee the larger outlets won’t even touch it. When they do, it’s almost always a bad situation that occurred. 

Well then, if the smaller outlets have to focus on their communities, how do they compete with outlets like Huffington Post or CBS? In short, they don’t. It’s not their job to compete with them. As I said, their main focus is on their area and what’s happening there, not around the world. Global and national news sources focus on just that: global and national events. Outlets like The Lion’s Roar or The Times-Picayune have smaller goals, and that’s what they need to keep their aim. If they stray out of that range and focus on too many larger issues, then how do the people find out what’s happening in their area? That said, feedback is always helpful. If a local outlet isn’t reporting enough on the local events, then they need to be made aware of it. I’m sure constructive criticism and feedback is a good way to keep local outlets reporting on local news.

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