World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Getting the audience to tell the story of journalism

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Getting the audience to tell the story of journalism

We have asked the participating newsrooms to give some space to you, our audience, to tell us.

Maybe you met a journalist for the first time. And for the first time you were believed.

Perhaps you have never met a journalist but you worry about their safety amid the social unrest in so many parts of the world. Most likely, you don’t think twice about how the news gets out.

When The Canadian Journalism Foundation launched WorldNewsDay.org three years ago, it was clear that amid full-scale assaults on the integrity of journalism, there were two important groups of voices who best tell the story of journalism – the journalists, and more importantly, our audiences.

Since the industry’s earliest days, most of us have been satisfied as reporters, photographers and editors to be in the background. We were trained from day one that journalists are not the story. But in recent years, powerful forces have pushed our profession into the headlines.

Routine verbal attacks have grown into targeted physical attacks against journalists going about their daily jobs. Camera operators, reporters and photographers may choose to go into dangerous situations, even riots, to tell their communities what is going on, but it is only in the last years that wearing the PRESS identifier turns the journalist into a target.

World News Day is not intended as an industry celebration. It is instead a day to pause and give the people we have turned into stories a platform to explain how journalism made a difference in their lives.

On the evening of Sept 28, we have a two-hour show presented by CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter. We will revisit some of the most important moments of this incredible year for news.

Live show host Brian StelterLive show host Brian StelterAmong the guests is Mary Cain, at one point an indoor world record holder and the World Junior track champion in the 3000m. She explains how journalism helped her and others to break free from a toxic training environment where her body weight target was unreasonably low.

You will hear from John Sanders, a protester who spoke to the press after he was partially blinded by police while protesting the death of George Floyd. 

And 16-year-old Autumn Peltier, whose goal may be simple but remains still out of reach – clean water for all. These are the voices that journalism can amplify, and connect to policy makers as part of wider conversations. Journalism is about improving the world and ensuring we talk about the need for better climate coverage, social justice and information that can save lives.

Dr Anthony Fauci of the Center for Disease Control in the US who talks often about the importance of following facts and scientific evidence will join us too.

And Maria Ressa, the tenacious co-founder and executive editor of the Filipino news site, Rappler, will convey her experience as she faces years of possible imprisonment. Her crime in Manila? Journalism.

Beyond the show, we have newsrooms across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and Oceania spending time with their audiences to discuss the importance of journalism, and perhaps above all simply the desire to be able to access accurate information.

Faith in journalism is only earned through focused consistent work done by individuals who live in the community. Wherever you are, they need your support.

And for those communities who now live in a news desert, where there is no longer a local paper covering the council meetings and school boards, I encourage you to consider more deeply what has been lost and what can be done to bring the journalism back to life one community at a time. The best journalists listen. The strongest communities tell their stories, if not for themselves, for their children.

As journalism goes, so goes democracy.

David Walmsley is the Creator, World News Day and past chair, The Canadian Journalism Foundation. He is also Editor-in-Chief, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada.

To register to watch the World News Day shows, please visit https://worldnewsday.org/.

Author

Cherilyn Ireton's picture

Cherilyn Ireton

Date

2020-09-27 23:13

Author information

The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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