Journalists must strive to protect the traditional values of their profession even as they adopt new ways of producing and sharing information, Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Communications Network (CCN), Shida Bolai, told CCN journalists attending a multimedia workshop yesterday.
The workshop was conducted by Robert Quigley, a senior lecturer with the University of Texas, (USA) and a 16-year veteran of the print journalism industry and Karel Mc Intosh, the founder and editor-in-chief of Outlish Magazine, a weekly, online, lifestyle magazine that features innovative, entrepreneurial Trinis, and fresh, feisty perspectives on life in Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking to journalists from the Express and TV6 at the internal Multimedia Workshop, Bolai said today's technology was more multifaceted than in times past, where there were clear spaces for gatekeepers where there was a vertical chain of command.
"Today those are being eroded by technology that is cutting new paths across the information landscape and decentralising the old structure. And yet even as we recognise the vast changes underway we are still required to maintain old values of accuracy, fairness, integrity and professionalism among other things.
"In letting go of old ways of approaching the job, the greatest risk we face is losing control of the processes that protect the values of professional journalism. Protecting those values is of paramount importance because it is what distinguishes us from the other players," she said.
Bolai said the public was bombarded with information from everyone, but the difference between what the media does and what everyone else does is trust. And no matter how revolutionary the change in media, these values remain important.
"As media we aspire to provide information that people can trust. Information that is reliable, unbiased and free from personal agenda. The day the public can no longer rely on this is the day that we lose the distinction between us and everyone else and become irrelevant in the lives of readers, viewers and listeners," she said.
However, she cautioned that journalists must meet the challenge and not make the mistake of thinking that these values can only be protected by holding on to the old ways of doing things, because those who refuse to meet the challenge of change soon become extinct.
"This, then is our challenge— to master new media. In order to carry our news gathering production and delivery process to a whole new level, while strengthening the values of a free and responsible media," Bolai added.