Transmission of information is a delicate business. Knowledge is always transmitted through some sort of code, be it linguistic or otherwise. What that means, is that it is impossible to pass on direct knowledge, or the fact itself. What can be transmitted, or shared, is just an interpretation of the fact, operated through language. It is only a description of the object, not the object itself. And, given that every single particle of language possesses meaning, or semantic quality, transmission can never be clear. The message is always overcharged, distorted, by the very code it is translated into. As far as the activity of reporters is concerned, these notions are of capital importance. Journalistic communication is supposed to be perfectly and clear of any second-level meaning. Perfection being unattainable, the notion of the unreliability of reporting kicks in, amplified by the evidence of the external pressure to which journalists need to adjust. It has become common sense, nowadays, that even in front of the unreliability of the press, people can turn to the internet for free information. That is, free of charge and supposedly free of the influences and manipulations that weight on the institutional journalism. This issue anyway goes deeper than that. Whether it is clear that you do not need to be recognized as an official journalist to have the necessary qualities to be one, if you are on your own you probably don’t have the means to offer an alternative to classic journalism. Newspapers and magazines rest upon the efforts of great structures and a large number of highly specialized people. They benefit from their status in terms of equipment, exclusive news feeds and press access. All of this comes with a price, obviously, that is usually paid through compromise.
This does not mean that everything everyone ever writes is a lie. Working alone does ensure a greater degree of freedom, but, on the other hand, one can never really be sure of how the information is found and where it comes from: it is the problem of the sources, which are rarely specified. Moreover, there is the problem of the infinite possibilities of the internet. As good as pure freedom can be, the sheer quantity of information available online usually results in a dispersion of focus by the reader. As opposed to the past, when everyone had one or a couple of information sources that he relied upon constantly, today we face the age of absolute alternative: the online space being infinite, we can choose from an infinite amount of sources. But the human mind does not work that way. The sense of needing some direction is deeply rooted into our brain, who is constantly and instinctively looking for solid ground. So even if we still keep some sources as more reliably than other, we need to cope with the constant choice that we are proposed, as well as the evidence that no one can be trusted in an absolute way. These two factors combined can result in a profound detachment from the information: that is, letting it pass right through us, with no retention or lasting influence over us. Pure media consumerism. Nevertheless, we need to transmit and absorb information to function as an healthy society, and journalism has a key role in that: what we need to do is not to renounce to it, but to deeply comprehend its inherent vices, and to start rebuilding our trust in it. All that by maintaining our demands for transparency as high as possible. In other words, to continue to educate ourselves to the active, positive use of information.