Overcoming The Crisis Of Trust Between Journalists And Their Sources
Without mutual trust with their sources, a journalist cannot do their job.
A few days ago, Jim Romenesko reported on his blog that he had received an email from a journalist from Charlotte (North Carolina) mentioning “the exponential increase in the number of people who will only communicate via email. It’s especially prevalent at businesses, trade groups, and government of all levels.” Feedback from other journalists in the comments section confirm this trend.
Citizens’ trust in the news media* has been continuously declining for several decades. This is of course a worrying trend for the concerned companies because it can cause a revenue drop when a loss of trust results in a decline in media consumption.
But the trend highlighted on Jim Romenesko’s blog is no less disturbing. Indeed, a journalist with no source is not worth much. Their ability to inform their audiences is based on a relationship of mutual trust with their sources. Instead of blaming the other side, it is time that sources – first and foremost communicators – and journalists get together to understand the reasons for this crisis of trust that they cannot overcome on their own.
Newsmakers and journalists have as much to gain from ensuring that the news reported by the media is relevant.
* The evolution varies from one medium to another but the overall trend is negative.