Ted Bridis Comments on the Importance of Investigative Journalism in the Current Media Environment
Ted Bridis, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting, was featured in “The Importance of Investigative Journalism in Our Current Environment” during an episode of “Gulf Coast Life” broadcast on Naples, Florida public radio station WGCU-FM on Jan. 27.
The episode focused on the rise of misinformation and disinformation and the importance of fact-based investigative journalism in today’s media landscape.
Bridis explains that investigative journalism takes a deep dive into documents, data and records. It’s up to the reader to decide what is right. Reporting on public policy can be complicated and it can be a challenge to get people to talk when it may not be in their best interest.
“We are coming out of a remarkably divisive political environment in which there is a lot of mistrust and there have been complaints, some credible and some a little disingenuous, about the press and the media’s credibility and their role in some of the coverage,” said Bridis.
“I think the biggest challenge we face right now is the remarkable sweep of disinformation. People in this environment are generally getting their news in a bubble,” he said. “They are getting their news from Facebook and other social media groups where they tend to interact with people who are thinking along their own lines and not being exposed to new ideas or new information that may contradict, conflict or shed new light on policy issues and news events that they might not necessarily agree with, but it’s important that they are exposed to these things so that they can critically access what might actually be accurate.”
According to Bridis, there is a lack of trust in journalism today and some reporters have exhibited some bad news judgement that can be damaging. Reliable news organizations make mistakes and correct them transparently.
“One effort is to improve media literacy to empower readers, listeners and viewers to become more sophisticated consumers,” he said. “You can’t just get your news from your social media feed. You do need to be exposed to alternative media viewpoints. You need to watch various news organizations that express views over the political spectrum. If reports are confirmed by additional outlets that gives them credibility.”