The Importance of a Second News Source

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Importance of a Second News Source
by Jonathan Grace

In times of division and turmoil, people need credible sources of information. The job of a journalist is one of immense significance, especially in a nation where people cannot always agree on basic scientific consensuses. Who else divulges the truth to the masses? Who else serves as a credible watchdog for those in power? Who else gives the public the information they need to make their own, educated, and informed opinions? Journalists. 

The word journalists in the plural is important. When students first learn how to write a research paper, their instructor undoubtedly tells them to seek out multiple sources of information to confirm their claims. The same is true in journalism. Before any story is released, any article is published, or any breaking news is broadcasted, teams of journalists work to verify information by using multiple sources. These are the very basic practices by which journalists operate. Utilizing multiple sources of information is not something specific to the journalism industry however, this practice is part of basic information and media literacy. Responsible consumers of news media follow these same principles. Two heads are better than one. A report or a claim from a single source may serve as a lead, but once that report or claim is confirmed by a second or third credible source, it becomes a fact. 

To put this into perspective, the United States and its residents rely on a myriad of different news sources everyday to stay informed. From the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, to the New York Times and CNN, people living in the United States have an immense amount of information at their disposal when looking at the news. Whether or not people choose to use more than one of these sources is a matter of individual media literacy, but these news organizations exist nonetheless. The nation would be a vastly different place if people only had one news source to turn to. There would be no external means of verification or accountability. Similarly, if only one branch of government existed, who would hold it accountable or call it out when it abused its power? Luckily, this is not the case in the United States, and there are three branches of government (plus journalism as the Fourth Estate), along with multiple national news organizations that seek to maintain balance. 

The same is not always true at the local and hyperlocal level, however. Take, for example, LMU. Here on campus, there is The Los Angeles Loyolan, but nothing else. While the Loyolan is a weekly paper that delivers news on a variety of different topics by hard-working student journalists, it is only one news source. This is not to say that they don’t conduct honest journalism, it is merely a criticism of circumstance. So what are we to do, Lions? The fact that you are reading this article suggests that you may already know the answer to that question. LMU deserves a second news source on campus, and The Agency is here to fulfill the role. It exists to keep the LMU community informed, to monitor those in power, and to give a voice to those who have traditionally had their voices stifled. 

The Agency aims to offer students, faculty, staff, and all other members of the LMU community a second opinion, a chance for rebuttal, a forum for discussion, and an opportunity to ignite meaningful change. Unlike many traditional news sources, The Agency will offer pieces on news, opinion, art, and culture from a variety of different angles and voices to give LMU a well-rounded look at what’s happening and not happening on campus. The Agency aims to serve as LMU’s Fourth Estate, and a monitor to those in power. At the same time, this organization strives to offer opinions and voices from those who may not otherwise have that platform. This organization pledges to bring the LMU community news as it happens, but not always from a traditional angle. The Agency realizes that compelling stories can be told through a variety of different mediums including, but not limited to, art, sound, and the written word. The Agency also acknowledges that many voices, specifically those of minority groups (of any kind), are often overlooked and silenced in a traditional newsroom. We pledge to make your voices heard. 

To the LMU community, 

The goal of this newsroom collective is to be an inclusive space, where everyone’s ideas and opinions can be expressed, heard, and understood. The Agency refuses to be complacent, and we ask the same of each and every member of this campus. Just as the Agency will hold those in positions of power accountable, we ask you, the community, to hold us accountable too. We aim to be a tool and a resource for you, and you, and to serve you in the best and most just way we can. We hope that The Agency will inspire you to take a closer look at the news you consume, to question everything, and to help create the change you wish to see on campus.

To our colleagues at The Loyolan, 

We thank you for the journalism you conduct every week on campus. We invite your help in creating a news environment where all people feel welcomed and heard. As journalists, we will always strive to deliver the truth, and we ask you to hold us accountable in the same way that we will hold you accountable. We are all journalists striving to keep the LMU community informed and deliver quality news. While our approaches may be different, our goal should be the same. 

The Agency: Obligated to the Truth, Loyal to the Lions

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