Widely reported results of a recent study show the level of trust the public place in journalists is on the decline.
The timing of the release isn’t great, with phone hacking a subject yet to be cast off as fish and chip paper. But does the fact that journalism is generally regarded as a dishonest profession deter the bright eyed students ready to enter the media world? It doesn’t seem that way as figures show that applications to journalism courses is at an all time high.
What are journalists’ feelings about this stereotype though? I don’t see myself as a dishonest person and I haven’t tried to get into the industry to be considered an untrustworthy member of society. Did the people who hacked the voicemail of politicians and celebrities at the News of the World? I suspect not, but if you were in their position and under orders would you have done anything differently?
The question I am grappling with the most is, do you have to be untrustworthy to succeed as a journalist? At local level, the answer is definitely not. The local journalist plays an important part in the community and will never get a story big enough to warrant burning his/her bridges with the local services or people by digging for dirt.
But on a national scale, I am not so sure. Stories need to be found, and on slow days desperate times can sometimes result in desperate measures, and I suspect not all of those measures are trustworthy.
But then again, it could be worse. We could be politicians.
Pic Credit: Simon Howden