Has Trump trumped the media?

Trump 2017…2018, 2019 and last but not least, 2020. If all goes according to Mr. President’s plans, we will be seeing four full years of the Trump camp. What does this mean for journalists?

As social journalists, we are supposed to reinvent the craft. In the days before Gutenberg and mass circulation, storytellers were forced to empathize and actually hear what their communities cared about. It wasn’t about reach or engagement or page views; it was about telling a story that people actually cared about.

When the printing press became more mainstream, storytellers wanted to please everyone. The creation of mass media destroyed the empathy that went into writing quality stories. Remember: quality over quantity.

Can social journalism save the media’s integrity? Can we win back the trust of the public by listening to them?

After Steve Bannon’s claims that the media is the opposition, a light bulb popped up. To the conservatives, we are the opposition. Journalists are supposed to be unbiased, but in light of the recent election, the personal hatred for the Trump camp has pushed journalists to add their own emotions to their pieces.

In the struggle to fill their timeline with news they enjoy, journalists have completely missed the point and a whole segment of people. How can you service multiple communities if you’re not empathizing with both sides? This is especially true in the recent election.

“Perhaps journalists’ more Clinton-oriented Twitter networks expose a subtle form of political bias, or perhaps Trump supporters separated themselves from these users to avoid inconvenient facts” writes Alex Thompson for Vice News.

So how do we as journalists bounce back from this? How do we bridge the gap? Chuck the figurative printing press and the mass-media structure, that’s how.

Paraphrasing what Ana Marie Cox said in her NowThis News video, if you go into a conversation with someone whose ideals don’t match your own and you have an agenda, they will pick up on it.

On the contrary, if you go into a conversation with someone whose ideals differ from your own, but you are able to empathize, you may learn something.

As social journalists, we need to empathize and create content that fits a community’s needs. We need to prove to the public that we are trustworthy, unbiased, and most importantly, on their side. We’re supposed to be a source of truthful, accurate and most importantly, pressing information.

The next four years will be a struggle for journalists everywhere, but with empathy as our secret weapon, we should be able to bounce back.