For the past few weeks I have been visiting the NZ Catholic offices in Ponsonby as a hopeful future journalist, looking to learn the ropes and see firsthand the inner workings of a newsroom.
I was recently tasked with a project by editor Michael Otto, to wade through
a rather lengthy list of Catholic news sites and agencies and uncover three articles
which would be relevant to young people today.
This was no easy assignment; after scanning and scrolling through the multitudes
of online content, I settled for three stories which sparked my interest.
I don’t know if my interests are particularly representative of the entirety of young people today, but I am still relatively young, so hopefully that counts for something.
The first was from the Catholic News Agency and titled, “Argentina Senate
rejects bill to legalise abortion”. As the headline news of a day (August 10) this
one was not hard to find, and detailed the rejection by the Argentine Senate of
a bill to legalise first-trimester abortion.
Neydy Casillas, senior counsel for ADF International, said, “Argentina has embraced life despite huge international pressure to give up existing legislation protecting life and freedom of conscience.”
In continuation, the second article I chose focused on another high-profile case in Ireland, where in contrast, the nation voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to its Constitution on May 25, and allow legal abortion. This particular piece from Crux titled, “Irish pro-life leader says ‘near-total media bias’ behind referendum defeat”, spoke about the lack of media diversity and the creation of a “fake-news storm” leading up to the referendum.
I’m not going to pass judgement on whether I think this was the case or not, though it is important to highlight that when presented with information through mainstream media and news outlets it is important to read and interpret with discretion.
Following on from this, recently 150 priests, nuns, and lay people attended a four-day gathering in Davao City, Philippines, to discuss “fake news” and the role of journalists in the peace process (“Filipino Catholic media told to fight ‘fake news’” : ucanews.com).
The bishops said that spreading fake news is a “sin against charity because it hinders people making right and sound decisions and encourages them, instead, to make faulty ones”.
It is evident that journalism carries with it a lot of responsibility, with an ability to falsify reality and even influence the decision-making of others. It not only influences what some think, but also what topics are thought about.
Having worked extensively in youth ministry over the past ten years, it has been very apparent to me that young people are yearning for truth.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of media exposure, it has become harder to find and this trend is on the increase, it appears.
Being a journalist with integrity is something I inspire towards, in hope that the young Church will be able to always see clearly the truth when they search for it.
Victoria Ning is a journalism intern at NZ Catholic.