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Are journalists still seen as a source of knowledge and wisdom?
An oracle is "somebody or something considered to be a source of knowledge, wisdom, or prophecy".
In the early days of journalism, newspapers were the main source of information, and journalists were generally accepted as the source of "knowledge" and "wisdom".
People relied on them for direction and to explain complex issues. But is this still true today?
Image courtesy of Vin Crosbie and released under Creative Commons.
The oracle approach
Translating the ORACLE mnemonics to the process of reporting (see image below), one sees how a journalist can be more proactive in taking the initiative to act or break a story compared to routinely reacting to events or doing follow-ups.
Proactive journalists continually think and construct their narratives guided by the ORACLE mnemonics as follows:
Observe, watch and listen to make sense of events, abstract issues and people in their environments. Here lies the capacity of journalists to perceive and see what others usually overlook. People see events. Journalists see stories and issues behind the events.
Reflect on and record what you have observed, reconcile the differences from what you have seen, heard or sensed with what you assumed. Listen to your own counsel and conscience. Then, challenge conventional wisdom.
Amplify and analyse the relevant and significant aspects of the events, issues and people involved to agitate for change.
Contextualise your reflection and analysis of the above to clarify and connect with your readers. Include different perspectives and explanations. See the bigger picture, see the trees AND the forest.
Learn more about what you have uncovered and elucidate the true from false, right from wrong. Report and write beyond one in-depth story.
Educate, enlighten, and enable your readers to find out more about issues and people you have written about.
In reality, however, you are limited in what you can do to influence public policies. Journalists and readers work together in uncovering the truth and seeking possible solutions to community problems.
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