Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Valerie Bolden-Barrett began her writing career as an editor at Simon & Schuster before working at Aspen Publishers as a senior editor covering business practices, politics, employment law, and workplace trends. In 2003, Bolden-Barrett became a freelance writer, gaining experience in communication strategy and content development. She wrote over 5,000 articles for Industry Dive around best business practices and HR related topics, garnering 20 years of writing experience across a vast number of mediums.
While collecting data and research can be a challenge, Bolden-Barrett is requited by receiving positive feedback for her work. Her concerns around the media industry are around the correlation of the degradation of journalistic principles and its invitation to those looking for money and fame. “While people entering the field once held up Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward as the profession’s highest standard-setters, more recent entrants are attracted to the high salaries and glamour they associate with journalism,” says Bolden-Barrett.
Q: If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?
VBB: Journalism used to be about seeking and uncovering the truth without bias, partisanship, or spin. Much of today’s journalism is corporate-driven and therefore controlled by the sponsoring entity’s social, political, or economic motives. Journalists not only have a responsibility to separate fiction from truth, but also to fact-check and clearly present their work.
Q: The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?
VBB: A democratic society will always need credible, truth-seeking journalists. Although blaming all of society’s ills on journalism has almost become a sport — often without merit — the profession’s transition from the revered Fourth Estate to partisan reporting has generated some of the attacks.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
VBB: First, I advise them to master the written language(s) in which they plan to communicate with a focus on striving for clarity. Practice neutrality when drafting hard-news stories. Look for knowledgeable, reliable sources to interview – don’t rely on emails you receive for story leads. Journalists also shouldn’t become overly dependent on technology and attempt to sift through the vast amount of information available online without thorough fact checking.
Q: Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?
VBB: Social media has given everyone a platform for passing along news, opinions, and general information. Journalists and reporters must vet all social media sources for authenticity and be willing to call out and correct falsehoods.
February 14, 2023