MONEY AND THE ECONOMY IN NEWS
In retrospect, information has been playing an essential role in shaping economic, social, and educational progress around the world. Knowledge empowers people to determine their financial paths, which leads to sustainable development. Therefore, the freedom of the media is vital in ensuring that information reaches people in an unbiased manner. People can collectively and individually use financial information to fulfill their potentials economically (Davis, 2011). The growth of technology has encouraged sharing of information electronically in fast, efficient, and secure ways. Knowledge enables people to engage in active debates and helps them make crucial economic and political decisions that can shape their future.
When the freedom of the media is respected, people can participate in the process of equitable economic development. It can expose corruption scandals and act as a watchdog to ensure effective implementation of government policies in a transparent and accountable manner. It is important to note that the media creates the platform for public participation. People can get the chance to share their ideas and facilitate business activities in productive ways.
There are terms such as “Great Depression” and “Recession” that have invoked debates on various platforms in the media. Recently, the United States suffered a government shutdown because the Senate did not approve the national budget. Most people do not understand the terms that are related to macroeconomic issues. The media has several times held a considerable audience in public debates to discuss economic challenges that are facing many people around the world. The media should always use these platforms to educate the public on the meaning of complex economic terms. The use of filtered feedback by the media has been a trend amplifier because people get to understand the dynamics of economics.
The growth of any economy around the world is facilitated by effective financial policies that can promote equality and sustainable employment opportunities. Insomuch as it serves, many people are still living in poverty because of high unemployment rates.
The stories provided on such platforms can help the government evaluate its economic policies to help people living in poverty. Media stations such as CNN have made their influence profoundly global. They represent a spectacular vindication of ideas by accelerating processes and increasing public knowledge on scandals that affect the economic development in the country (Davis, 2011). To some extent, media has been a powerful tool that has shaped political views and ousted underperforming politicians during elections.
The pervasive effects of the media have made most people in public offices responsible when using taxpayers' money. People choose the type of information they want to hear from the media. However, most of them are concerned with news that affects their lives economically. Today, people are subjected to pay high government taxes globally. Therefore, they expect transformative policies that will improve their living standards through better healthcare services, affordable housing, good infrastructure, and quality education for their children.
People hold the media responsible for any confusion during the dissemination of information. It is the reason why media houses that boast global audiences try to provide factual and reliable information. But the most important is the ability of people to understand the causes and future implications of issues such as an economic crisis. Therefore, social media and other information platforms can be meaningless if they lie to the public. If the information is sentimental or subjective, it can mislead other people. The reliability of information should be based on its resonance and velocity, meaning that its relevance should not be lost or misunderstood.
In a nutshell, the media should use fast-spreading stories to ensure that information is not only received but also understood. This can lead to social media intelligence and more people can contribute their ideas objectively, to finding the best solutions in solving economic problems.
Social Media Promotes Economic Development
It is crucial to acknowledge that social media has promoted the democratization of information. Before, the advancements in technology, people had pay for news. Today, companies can have their own media brand. There are no significant barriers that can prevent people to access vital information about companies. The emergence of smartphone technology has facilitated the spread of information worldwide.
Today, there is a stiff competition among firms in a dynamic and unpredictable international market. Most of these firms have included social media as part of their marketing strategies to reach many customers around the world. Others have embraced the latest technologies by adopting e-commerce systems that promote online trading. All these activities have been promoted by the existence of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It is essential to note that these sites, over the past years, have continued to attract millions of followers around the world.
Social media has proved to be an efficient way to communicate in educational and societal communities. When more people are using social media, it means that they can stay updated with the latest economic news. Furthermore, it also implies that shopping actives can be performed over the internet. The development of commercial ads on social media sites enables people around the world to understand the latest economic trends. Product promotion in social media has been a growing trend.
Biasness in the Media
In 2008, the world faced a financial crisis that adversely affected the economy. The media failed to explain to the world the intrigues of the economic crisis. Most reports from different media stations had conflicting information about the disaster, which made the news unreliable because they were confusing. From the onset of the financial crisis, the media failed to focus on the real issues that resulted in the global economic downturn. Additionally, it seemed that the press did not understand the mysteries surrounding the crisis. Consequently, media stations decided to provide limited and scarce information about the global economic turmoil. Moreover, the information provided constituted of diluted explanations that were inaccurate and biased.
Eventually, most people around the world ended up severely harmed by the economic crisis that had affected the financial industry. The media was accused of spreading correct information. The media should always cover economic events to build public trust. After the economic crisis of 2008, the financial press lost public faith because of their persistence in focusing on short-term and narrow events that were unhelpful. The media is expected to be analytical and educative to the public about macroeconomics in simple ways that can be understood. When the press disseminates misleading information to the public, it negatively shapes the attitudes and beliefs of people (Parsons, 1989). The major problem faced by the media is lack of frequent updates on economic events. Usually, product advertisements are repeatedly aired on television stations for customers to develop interests in them. However, financial news is always given a short time of reporting.
In 2008, the Fox News produced an article stating that economic recession was a myth created by the media. It asserted that although the prices of products such as fuel were increasing, the economy of the United States was still growing. The Fox News claimed that the Democrats were using the topic of a recession as a political campaign tool. The media has been known for being biased when it comes to politics. This has adversely affected the reliability of information especially when pundits from particular political parties are invited to give their opinions on the state of the economy (Gavin, 1998).
In most countries around the world, the media knows how to generate fear to the citizens. Additionally, sometimes, it piles pressure on governments, which can force them to make quick and bad decisions that can have long-term impacts. Fox news presented the recession topic as political rather than economic. The media did not focus on how the issue was causing severe economic problems in the country. Additionally, the pundits in Fox news presented the wealthy people in the United States as job creators. Furthermore, the pundits agreed that these are part of the moral community that works harder than the low-income employees in the United States.
The Big Short Film
This film gives a logical sequence of events that led to the Great Recession. Additionally, it highlights the fall of the housing market and the collapse of Lehman Brothers as the primary causes of the Recession. This film explained how actions and decisions of Wall Street had led to the sinking of the global economy (“openDemocracy,” 2018). This film showed how the Great Recession affected the economy of the United States. During this period, approximately eight million jobs were lost in the country. Additionally, trillions of consumer wealth were lost, and nearly six million people lost their homes (McKay et al., 2018).
By 2012, the Great depression crisis had already started affecting other economies globally (Peck, 2014). International trade declined, stock markets fell, and unemployment rates increased. The film presented four outsiders, who predicted the collapse of credit and the housing bubble. According to the film, the recession started long time ago. The decisions of bankers of Wall Street to create mortgage-backed securities for people, who were financially unstable were incorrect (McKay et al., 2018). However, when more securities were being lent out, there was an impending financial crisis because of high debts.
The film showed that Wall Street firms, such as the Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns were quick to offer loans without evaluating the financial states of borrowers (McKay et al., 2018). Most of these loans were not paid, causing an economic downturn in the United States. Unfortunately, the film shows how the bankers who caused the financial crisis used taxpayers' money to bail themselves out of prison after receiving huge bonuses from the crisis. This film adequately explained the mysteries behind the Great Recession to educate the public on what had happened (Peck, 2014). The movie will remain to be an excellent reference point when describing the great depression in the United States.
It would be unjust to ignore the roles, which the media has played, in uncovering the hidden truths about the economy of the United States. However, when media is used as a debate platform by political and partisan pundits, the public will not receive factual information. Banks decided to be greedy, and some government officials knew of the impending dangers of such actions, but they did nothing to prevent the economic crisis.
Transparency and Accountability in the Media
Journalists sometimes experience a lot of threats and criticisms because of the nature of their stories. Some are blamed for revealing too much information that can have adverse effects on a company. For instance, in 2008, Robert Peston was sharply criticized for reporting to the public that Northern Rock was experiencing a massive shortage of money. When other media stations published the story, the following day, customers went to the bank to withdraw their money. The crowd was so large that it needed police intervention to control entry into the bank. Peston's story turned into a crisis for Northern Rock (“OpenLearn”, 2018). The media has severally been accused of amplifying problems that affect banks and other financial institutions. In this case, Peston revealed sensitive information that led to the downfall of the bank.
It is important to note that scary and confidential information always receives public attention very fast. Therefore, the media should evaluate the risks that can cause financial damages to organizations. Other better alternatives should be considered to address the problem.
The media was partly blamed for failing to warn the public on the impending economic crisis. However, some media stations claimed that they gave warnings of the crisis but nobody was listening. Financial journalism should never be controlled by the government or any institution. The mysteries surrounding the great depression show that the problem was known in the financial sector before it happened.
The Importance of Financial Journalism
The primary objective of any media station or journalist is to disseminate factual information to the public. Additionally, the media should avoid biasness and ensure that it always remains impartial. The quality of reporting is always tested when there is a crisis. The freedom of the media can be blamed for encouraging journalists to go beyond their limits and contribute to financial crises. Business and economic stories during the financial news are always presented hurriedly. Consequently, it would be difficult to reflect and understand the information that is reported. The nature of the world market has increasingly become more complex, which makes financial facts difficult to understand.
Financial journalism requires every reporter to be impartial and avoid targeting specific institutions for financial gain. The freedom of the media has contributed to the emergence of blogs, where confidential information is leaked to the public. This has created more openness in reporting the truth to the public without fear of being harmed or threatened. Nonetheless, journalists face a lot of ethical challenges, especially when they have access to valuable information.
Journalists can use information for personal financial gains and influence market trends. Therefore, the freedom of the media should not be misused by engaging in unethical behaviors, which can cause substantial economic losses to other companies (Emmison, 1983). Competition in journalism should be based on the quality of reporting. The media has always been under constant pressure to reveal truths regardless of the consequences.
Challenges Facing Financial Journalism
The media is always under constant pressure to deliver honest information to the public. Additionally, it is still challenging to develop public relation strategies that explore the complexity of the media industry. Financial journalism always faces defamation risks depending on the information released to the public about an individual or institution (Tambini, 2008). Additionally, journalists are frequently tasked to clarify the sources of their data.
The media should be appreciated for informing the public about the Great Recession. They cannot be blamed entirely for reporting what they knew. If banks and other financial experts failed to notice the coming of the financial crisis, journalists should not be blamed. Playing a blame game would be pointless. Nevertheless, the society should never neglect the importance of financial journalism. Media ensures that people are updated on the current economic trends. The advancement of technology and the emergence of social media sites have contributed to the growth of the economy. There should be a great balance between society and financial journalism. It would ensure that the media maintains public trust by impartially reporting the news.
Today, the world desperately needs excellent financial journalism. Therefore, it is essential for every aspiring financial reporter to understand the challenges facing the media industry. Media privileges should be based on ethical and responsible journalism. It is necessary for the media to focus on macroeconomic issues and educate the public on the current economic trends. However, limits should be set to prevent the media from being biased when disseminating information. In the future, people will continue to rely on the information reported on the media to make political, social, and financial decisions.
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