The journalism field suffered a huge blow last year due to biased, poorly-covered news and lies. One of the many moments that stood out news-wise in 2016, besides the election, was the trend #BoycottHamilton. Almost everyone on social media was talking about it, which was just the reaction to a Hamilton cast member asking Mike Pence to protect all American citizens when he and Trump take office and some members of the audience were booing at him. Most people on social media, including Donald Trump, saw the speech as disrespectful and demanded the cast member to apologize or be punished.

What people fail to realize is how trivial this matter is.

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True, the audiences booing Pence was disrespectful, but the address to Pence falls under the 1st Amendment, freedom of speech, and was delivered respectfully and had important content. More importantly, Pence stated he was not offended and enjoyed the play.

These heated reactions would have never happened if the media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, MSM, and other outlets, whether mainstream or social media, gave the incident too much coverage instead of focusing on the actual content of the speech from an objective point of view.

Poor reporting and fake news ruined Journalism

In 2016, unethical methods of reporting became popular. News either had low coverage such as various earthquakes around the world, too much coverage, was narrated in a biased view (both liberal and conservative), or had fabricated facts such as the #fake news incorporated in Facebook feeds.

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These faulty stories caused negative effects on communication. Citizens had trouble deciphering false and biased news from the truth. People became uninformed and misinformed about what’s going around them which helped create a nation divided, and distrust with the media because of the widespread of false information.

John Herrman, a writer for New York Times, claimed “every story, and source, is at risk of being discredited," in his article “Fixation on Fake News Overshadows Waning Trust in Real Reporting."

For example, Facebook released various articles from suspicious news outlets that covered the 2016 presidential election. According to Media Matters for America, the top-performing fake election news stories generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets. Many of those readers were given faulty information about each candidate causing a heavy influence on their vote.

Poorly covered news can also cause a hindrance for companies looking for websites to post advertisements on.

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Some businesses are unaware of the type of articles websites create, which could interfere with their business ideals.

“It would be bad for that company’s business,” Dr. Lamar W. Bridges, journalism professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce, said.

Media specialists have found ways to fix these problems to avoid greater damages

Recode, a news site that covers businesses in Silicon Valley, proposed four ways to deal with fake online news. First, websites need computer algorithms to filter out false stories for News Feed and Trending Stories. Second, employees need to scan popular news stories for false or bias information, since they are the ones who will set up the algorithms. Third, allow users to flag and block false content on the site. The last action was to do nothing so websites can follow their commitment to free and open speech. However, that is no longer an option when content is clearly false and causes conflict.

There is so much one can do to stop fake news, but news outlets and individuals must do whatever they can to fix this problem. “The best thing to do is just be very careful what you read and for journalists to be more verifiable with their information,” Bridges said.

Journalism is supposed to provide information to help citizens make the best life decisions through truthful, unbiased, and informative means. Hopefully, in 2017 the field will make some recovery. #fakenews #JournalismIsDead #ANationDivided