HONOLULU—With news moving in digital spaces, people are getting their daily updates faster than ever. The onus of providing verifiable, well-researched and truthful news to the public lies with journalists. This can be difficult to achieve as fake news is a growing roadblock but journalists must find a way around it.
The Society of Professional Journalists, widely recognized as SPJ, led a Hawaii chapter of the conference at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The first panel discussed how journalism is changing.
“The future of journalism is terrifying because there are so many possibilities and directions it could go,” said Mark Carpenter, news anchor for Hawaii News Now.
Carpenter and Ben Nishomoto, Vice President, Operation and Philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat, led a talk that detailed their personal experiences working in journalism and the challenges they faced. The panel talk was moderated by journalist Colette Pritchard. A key takeaway of the talk was that journalism must not be treated as a product, but as a public service.
Another significant area addressed during the conference was the challenge of misinformation and proliferation of “fake news” in the media. This issue is particularly common in rural areas, where access to news services is limited, and local news coverage is rare. Carpenter said in these areas up to 75% of the population has never spoken to a journalist, further cementing the notion that mainstream media is problematic and holds a hidden agenda.
Nishomoto is tackling this issue through community engagement at Civil Beat, by creating opportunities for the public to engage with news anchors, and allowing them to voice their perspectives on what topics they believe should be covered.
“By establishing safe speaking spaces and encouraging open discussions, this approach has proven effective in raising awareness about current events within communities and casting a positive light on journalism as a public service,” he said.
The discussion ended by posing a crucial question about the future of journalism: what can aspiring journalists learn now to enhance their skills in the future?
Nishomoto noted that today’s students are “digital native” and well prepared to navigate the evolving landscape of journalism.
Carpenter emphasized that as long as students persist in mastering the fundamental principles of journalism and refining their digital skills, they have the potential to “extend journalism farther than ever before”
The conference was attended by journalists, students and SPJ Region 11 professionals from Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Mariana Islands.