It is an interesting time for media as a whole and journalism specifically. Shahid Meighan is an Investigative Journalism student at the Cronkite School of Journalism. One aspect that is so important for a journalist is how to verify if information is correct – the due diligence factor.
“Anybody can say whatever, that this and that and the third happened many years ago but I need documentation. I need to see proof from a government official, a PR person something that this was said, or this was done. If there’s no paper trail it’s kind of hard for me to believe me personally. I see it on Twitter a lot too. They’ll say that this happened this time ago, I’ll go and fact check, it was wrong, and anybody could’ve seen it was wrong if you did a really quick Google search that can be easily refuted.”
Shahid finds that a healthy dose of skepticism is a good state of mind as one reads the news. He reminds us that blogs sites are not necessarily news sites and many of them are created purely for entertainment. There is no requirement for blogs to follow the principles adopted by journalists to tell the truth, to verify, and to double and triple check names, sources, dates, places, and locations. Shahid asks that people consider the motives behind the information and consider what drives them to put out this information.
When asked if investigative journalism still has the ability to affect change as it did in the past, Shahid shares, “I’m a pessimist. I’m gonna say no, it doesn’t have that same bite like, for example with the Watergate scandal. That was immediate.” But he still feels that speaking the truth can change someone’s mind or bring something to focus to bring about change.
As he moves into his career, his goal is to “do my due diligence and hear both sides first of all, objectivity in the sense of just hearing both sides talking to everybody, including vulnerable populations, and talking to those people.” And ultimately, his desire is to use this information to amplify and empower communities.