Challenges that young journalists face and how to overcome them

Denish Ochieng, Rosa Agutu and Valery Ochieng from Standard Group who emerged winners of Health reporting, TV category at the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards held at Safari Park, Nairobi on 4th May 2023. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

In today’s fast-paced digital age, journalism is facing an unprecedented challenge. The proliferation of fake news and disinformation has led to a crisis of trust in the media, threatening the very foundations of our democracy.

It is now, more important than ever to nurture the new generation of journalists who can rise up to these challenges and restore the public’s faith in journalism. The new generation of journalists represents a dynamic and diverse group of young professionals who are poised to shape the future of journalism in the digital age. They bring fresh perspectives, innovative approaches, and a deep commitment to the values of the profession.

The new voice of journalism is one that is grounded on truth, transparency, and accountability. It is a voice that is not afraid to challenge the status quo and speak truth to power. However, the rise of fake news has made it increasingly difficult for journalists to do their job. Fake news is designed to look like real news, but it is often sensationalised, exaggerated, or outright false. The impact of fake news is profound.

The problem is particularly acute in social media where fake news spreads rapidly and is often difficult to distinguish from real news. This creates a challenging environment for new journalists who are trying to establish themselves in an already crowded and competitive field.

The challenges that new journalists face are many. They must learn to navigate the complex landscape of digital media, including social media platforms, blogs, podcasts, and video channels. They must also develop the skills necessary to produce engaging and informative content that resonates with their audience. At the same time, they must maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity, rigorously fact-checking their sources and avoiding sensationalism and bias.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to nurture the new generation of journalists and help them rise to these challenges. First and foremost, we must provide them with the training and resources they need to succeed. This means investing in journalism schools and programmes, providing mentorship and support networks, and creating opportunities for hands-on learning through internships and fellowships.

In addition, we must encourage a culture of collaboration and teamwork among journalists. This means breaking down silos and encouraging journalists to work together across disciplines and platforms. By collaborating on stories, journalists can share resources, expertise, and insights, leading to better, more informative reporting.

Finally, we must support efforts to combat fake news and disinformation. This means providing the public with tools and resources to identify fake news, and holding social media platforms accountable for the content they host. It also means supporting the work of fact-checkers, who play a critical role in exposing fake news and holding those who spread it accountable.

Nurturing the new generation of journalists is critical to ensuring the continued relevance and credibility of journalism in the digital age.

Mr Jazari is an intern at Standard Group PLC