As any journalist would know her most fundamental obligation is to the truth.  Truth not understood like a law of science, but as verifiable facts presented in a meaningful context. With the aim to facilitate debate and eventually reach good decisions.

With such a professional ethos it’s utterly disturbing that the chosen word to characterize the climate for public discourse these days is “post-truth”.  According to the Oxford Dictionary an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

This reality is fueled by a combination of autocratic populist politicians and social media with a built-in logic to amplify both overly biased opinions and fake news. To paraphrase the legendary Joseph Pulitzer: The need for the noble profession of journalism, with an unequaled importance for its influence upon the minds and morals of the people, is more urgent than ever.

This urgency has inspired Schibsted and the Tinius Trust to launch The Power of Journalism Day. A new open arena to share, discuss, learn and talk about what we care about:  the future of journalism. Together with peers in our industry, as none of us have all the answers to the challenges. Together we have to strive to reestablish trust – this little word with such a far-reaching meaning.

We are convinced that journalism is a fundamental force for democracy
— Torry Pedersen

The craft of journalism can only win approval through our ability to ask critical questions, exposing counterarguments, relentlessly checking facts and presenting the findings in a context which appears both comprehensive and proportional.  At it’s best journalism helps citizens navigate society.

Journalism is there to shed light on what someone wants to keep in the dark, to challenge postulates from those given or seeking power, to inform the citizens about whether the management of our common resources are good or bad, or to put it precisely: to empower the informed.

To upheld our ability to fulfil this honorable goal we must be aware the importance of breadth and depth in our reporting, and consciously expose stories which is evaluated also by other criteria than popularity and likes. We must expose reality more than reality shows.

And we must be even more aware of the need to report precisely, wonderfully worded by the late journalist and author Gabriel Garcia Márquez : In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. 

In Schibsted and the Tinius Trust we are convinced that journalism is a fundamental force for democracy, we are enthusiastic about the power of digital storytelling, the impact of deep investigations and tools enabling the reader to have an ever more immersive experience.

The more informed the citizens are the better decisions we can reach, the more exposed mismanagement and abuse of power are, the more the unspoken are given a voice, the more we showcase the conditions for the weakest, the better the democracy.

 

Therein lies the Power of Journalism.

Therein lies the justification of claiming that journalism is a pillar in any civilized society.

Therein lies the fundament to herald journalism as a central part of the democratic infrastructure.

And therein lies the explanation of why autocratic politicians consistently attack media:
The Power of Journalism to expose their abuse and lies.

 

Torry Pedersen

Chairman of Schibsted’s Media Houses in Norway and former publisher of VG.

 

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The Power of Journalism Day
Co-hosted by Schibsted and the Tinius Trust, honors the independence, innovation and societal impact of a free press.

For more information:
Camilla Kim Kielland
Schibsted Media Group
Phone: +47 917 36 971
camilla.kim.kielland@schibsted.no