Todays Date
January 27, 2022

Some hyenas among journalists

News suffer in the race for clicks and likes – in almost all posted articles about scandals, shocking and disturbing announcements these days, I read only misinformation and lies. Our basic standards of journalistic profession have been trampled. It is amazing how easily they forgot all ethical principles and published the face of the woman who threw herself from the sixth floor, the man who hang himself opposite Nova Makedonija, a horrifying picture of a crushed car in which five young people died. And the readers? Fortunately, there are no flies on them

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As hyenas starving to death lurking corpses – so seem to me all those copy paste online workshops that produce serial “news” and offer the Macedonian news readers on social networks as a journalistic product. In the last few days Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with announcements for ridiculous love triangles, infidelity, broken hearts…previously we were shocked with notifications about suicides, accidents with no confirmed official statements about the events. It is important to get clicks.

The worst thing is that these notifications are with false declaration “news product”. In the race who will first steal “exclusive news” from the competition and will make it a version from which the reader’s hair stand on end, all standards are trampled, criteria and principles of ethical, objective journalism.

This is neither about a product from journalists, nor checked information. We all understand that it is just bait for clicks and likes. And after the vulgarized news with unique usability to shock and scandalize the public rather than inform us is posted on social networks, the prey is waited for – artificially built with clicks and likes that will absolutely raise the attendance graph, which is often interpreted with no relevancy that the media is popular thus hunting advertisements. So far I do not know that someone has seriously started with an analysis of clicks and audience, but it is certain that the online media and advertisers will have to burst that fame of a hundred thousand clicks. By the way, how much is our one click worth when many times before I have been in a situation to be ashamed of published rubble we called news offered as such a product? It is simply amazing how easily one wants to earn trampling other destinies and other people’s lives?

I was ashamed of the written and published when years ago a man committed suicide, hanged himself on a tree in the park opposite the building of Nova Makedonija. Then some news “producers” in the online space abused the destiny of our co-citizen, but were immediately condemned by FB and Twitter community. With no gram of brain and conscience, intending to shock and simultaneously get clicks, they urged their readers to read their text heinously titled: “This is the man who hanged himself on a tree opposite Nova Makedonija”.

That unfortunate man has a family, kids, and a wife. He has friends, neighbors. That man had his life, and hyenas even with a (PHOTO) reported, just to get a click more than others. How worth is a click colleagues? And how worth are all the artificial clicks and likes by our FB or Twitter audience? And what with all those likes and clicks received with someone’s tears, blood and sorrow? Is that how we will measure the quality or mind?

I was ashamed to be a journalist as a result of the reporting of some in the online space when in a serious accident in the basement of the Market Inspection building in Skopje five young people died. I was ashamed that I read something which was sold as a journalistic product, and each sentence was filled with shock, horror.

Ethical principles of journalistic profession were then thrown the farthest. I even thought – are there people among us journalists? And now I think – who are the hyenas among journalists for days trying to get worthless clicks and likes from the ominous event a week ago with the announcement – “This is the wife of the famous singer that threw herself from the sixth floor”?!

In non-professional reporting on this tragic event there was no official confirmation from the competent authority. Links of shame are still here:

“According to recent information it may not be suicide, but an accident at work or something else. The woman “committed suicide” by jumping from the sixth floor of the building where she worked. Nobody knows wWhat exactly happened and whether a problem preceded the tragedy”.

This was also offered as news product?!

Last summer when Croatian journalists attacked the Macedonian who stroked a seal on the beach in Pula, announcing that he beat and abused it, for days there was a debate about the non-professionalism of the colleagues from Croatia. A ton of nationalism and primitivism emerged in the social networks. And it originated from classic disinformation about an event in which our citizen stroked the seal on the beach, and was portrayed as a bully who beat and abused, and was expelled from the country. The first published misinformation about the Macedonian pulled another classic disinformation – the Macedonian was expelled from Croatia not because of the event on the beach in Pula, but because his residence in the country was not regulated. Then in Macedonia, totally irresponsibly we provoked the public to a barren debate triggered by copy pasted news. And even later when we saw the video posted on Dnevnik.hr, we tried to correct something that could not be corrected – our professionalism. And we want responsible journalism. We want to offer accurate, verified information to the reader. We want to inform him or shock him, simply stun him? Some may say that we exaggerate and that on the scene it is tabloid journalism! If only they could produce that!

And now – is there a solution for getting out of the sludge?

Certainly commendable is the project funded by USAID to strengthen Macedonian journalism through sound reviews of professional journalists and fact checking. But it is not enough!

At least we can tell the truth about our suppressed freedom, pressures and self-censorship that capture our profession, fight for our principles of ethical and objective information when we do not have either court, or honor. Or we have it – just declaratively in AJM. In 1990s it was quite different – there was a court and a council. And perhaps only few hyenas.

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