In The Market, by Rebekah Chilvers, November 27, 2018
A recent poll on trusted professions in the UK found journalists to be pretty close to the bottom.
While I’m not all that surprised, it is somewhat disappointing. Although I can totally see how nurses, doctors and teachers were at the top.
Journalists were, however, only trusted to tell the truth by a mere 26 per cent of the 1,001 people who were polled in the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index.
I suppose this could have something to do with the recent furore over fake news, and perhaps even something to do with the ‘most powerful man in the world’ over the pond who is constantly bashing any news organisation who dares to do anything but praise him.
I suppose it could also be just how the majority of the general public perceives journalists these days.
Certainly, since I have worked in my role here at the Lynn News for almost two and a half years I have seen and experienced my fair share of criticism or backlash, which you come to expect as a journalist.
And I’m not saying that that should stop – it is important that journalists report all sorts of matters, some of which will be met with negativity, and people are absolutely entitled to their own opinions which will sometimes mean criticism.
What I am not OK with, however, is the personal nature of some of the ‘attacks’, for want of a better word, that some of my colleagues and I have experienced from time to time.
Just last week I wrote a piece which was met with an online comment along the lines of “whoever wrote this must be an idiot”.
Yes, during my time in this profession – which in the grand scheme of things hasn’t been that long – I have had to develop a ‘thick skin’.
But that doesn’t mean that on the occasions when you do see comments like this you can always just move on from it right away.
And again, I am not suggesting that we should be free from criticism, it would just be nice if the criticism was a little less nasty and not so personal.
I know this isn’t just an issue for journalists, it’s something that is pretty much part and parcel of the online world thesedays.
‘Trolls’ and ‘keyboard warriors’ are everywhere. But if only we could move on from this trend for online hate, it would make life so much easier and I’m sure it would be a lot more pleasant as well.
In a climate where we are becoming more open to talking about mental health, I think we should be more aware of what our comments can do to others.
What I am also reminded of, however, is people like Piers Morgan who seem to revel in this type of criticism, and who say unpopular things just to get a response.
While debate is healthy, I believe it does not need to amount to bullying.