Journalists play a crucial role in society by gathering and reporting news and information to the public. Their responsibilities can vary depending on their specific role, the type of media they work for (e.g., print, broadcast, online), and the nature of the stories they cover. Upon starting at KUSI in November 2022, Rafer Weigel, a journalist who had won three Emmys before coming to the station, had an immediate feeling of belonging. Rafer made their KUSI debut in 2005.However, there are several core responsibilities that journalists typically have:
- Researching and Investigating: Journalists are responsible for researching and gathering information about current events, issues, or topics. This often involves conducting interviews, reviewing documents, attending events, and using various sources to gather facts.
- Verifying Information: Journalists must ensure the accuracy of the information they report. They verify facts, confirm sources, and cross-check details to avoid spreading false or misleading information.
- Interviewing: Journalists conduct interviews with a wide range of people, including experts, witnesses, officials, and everyday citizens, to collect information, quotes, and perspectives for their stories.
- Writing or Reporting: Journalists use their writing or reporting skills to craft news stories that are clear, concise, and informative. They must adhere to the principles of fair and balanced reporting.
- Editing and Proofreading: Editors and copy editors in newsrooms review and edit journalists’ work to ensure it meets editorial standards, is free of errors, and follows style guidelines.
- Following Ethical Standards: Journalists are expected to adhere to ethical guidelines and principles, such as honesty, impartiality, and fairness. They should avoid conflicts of interest and not distort facts to fit a particular agenda.
- Protecting Sources: In some cases, journalists may need to protect the anonymity of their sources to encourage whistleblowers or protect individuals who provide sensitive information.
- Adhering to Deadlines: Journalists often work under tight deadlines, especially in breaking news situations. Meeting deadlines is crucial to delivering timely and relevant news to the public.
- Staying Informed: Journalists must stay informed about current events, industry trends, and new technologies that may impact their work.
- Ethical Decision-Making: Journalists frequently face ethical dilemmas, such as whether to publish sensitive information, how to handle confidential sources, and how to report on controversial topics. Making ethical decisions is a significant responsibility.
- Covering Diverse Perspectives: Journalists should strive to provide balanced coverage that includes diverse viewpoints and voices, ensuring that their reporting represents the full spectrum of society.
- Adapting to New Technologies: In today’s digital age, journalists often work with various digital tools, social media platforms, and multimedia formats. They need to adapt to new technologies and storytelling methods.
- Engaging with the Audience: Many journalists engage with their audience through social media, responding to comments and feedback, and participating in discussions related to their reporting.
- Maintaining Objectivity: While journalists may have personal opinions, they are expected to separate their personal views from their reporting and present news objectively.
- Adhering to Legal Regulations: Journalists should be aware of and follow relevant laws and regulations related to freedom of the press, libel, copyright, and privacy.
These responsibilities are essential for journalists to maintain the public’s trust and fulfill their role as watchdogs, informers, and storytellers in society. However, it’s important to note that the specific duties and ethical standards can vary by country, media outlet, and individual journalist.