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World News Day 2020: Journalism as a Force for Good

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On Monday, 28 September, over 150 newsrooms worldwide came together to mark World News Day, a day where journalists focus on how to report on issues that matter to their audiences. 

Now in its third year, World News Day celebrates the stories, the people, the reporting and the professional news organisations that are dedicated to improving lives, challenging the status quo, holding those in power to account and supporting freedom and democracy.

The Straits Times was one of the newsrooms that participated in the commemoration of the importance of journalism. A special 20-minute and 20-second video (representing the year 2020), Journalism Through A Pandemic, presented in conjunction with the World Editors Forum and The Canadian Journalism Foundation, with support from the Google News Initiative was also produced on their YouTube channel, summarising how journalism has become an integral part of peoples’ lives – whether through print or digital media. 

The video featured interviews with various journalists who have been closely involved in covering stories related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. One such journalist is Straits Times China Correspondent Rachel Law, who visited the Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market, which is considered to be the epicentre of the virus. Despite having covered stories in protest and war zones, she recounts her trepidation going into the seafood market, as this was “the enemy that you couldn’t see, and that was something we were worried about.”  

Journalism Through A Pandemic was also featured on the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ website. 

How is this year’s World News Day special?

This year, in view of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, news has become a place where ordinary people look to for important information on how to protect themselves and their family members from the virus. 

However, as technology enables us to spread vital information quickly, it is also a double-edged sword. The outbreak of the deadly virus has also given rise to the rampant spread of fake news, which can travel as fast, or even faster than real news. Hence, the onus is on journalists to ensure that information that is reported is as accurate and unbiased as possible. 

“Newsrooms and professional journalists everywhere have stepped up to the challenge of covering the COVID-19 pandemic. World News Day this year will be an occasion to tell the story of how 100 newsrooms from across the planet responded to this global crisis and played a role in keeping our societies well informed, as well as bringing our communities together, so critical in these testing times,” shared Warren Fernandez, president, World Editors Forum and editor-in-chief, The Straits Times.

Why is quality journalism essential?

As newsrooms have become important sources of information for the public, credible journalism has the power to save lives, build trust and inform the public’s understanding of a complex world. Hence, World News Day is an apt reminder that journalism can be a force for good, as it can guide us to think critically about the world around us, especially in a time where we are forced to navigate through uncertainty. 

Where can I find more information about World News Day?

To peruse more articles, videos and resources, visit worldnewsday.org, or watch their free live webcast here

 

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