Journalism has become a beat in its own right over the recent years. Although we were all taught that the reporter must not be the story, misinformation, online abuse and violence against journalists are on the rise globally and journalists cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch their industry burn.
Journalism is talked about by everyone: politicians, bloggers, academics, religious leaders, social media users and pretty much anyone who has an agenda. But rarely it is talked about, and even less often shown on-camera, by the journalists themselves.
Two award-winning Sky News war-zone reporters, Alex Crawford and Stuart Ramsey, set out to show TV audiences the reality of news-gathering in the new series Hotspots: On The Front Line, that starts tonight on Sky Documentaries.
"We want to counter the misinformation narrative," says Crawford about the intention behind the series.
"We want you to see how we make mistakes, how scared we are, how everything can go wrong - or right."
Although most journalists are dedicated to getting to the core of the truth, she is realistic about the nature of the job; no one wants to make mistakes but it is impossible to avoid them completely.
For the duo of reporters, this series is more than just a documentary. They want to show the bare reality of reporting in a hope that those who doubt the authenticity of news will see what the first-hand experience of working on the ground looks like.
Crawford recalls how she once found herself in the middle bombing in Iraq, covered it on live television, and some people would still doubt the events were taking place.
And that is one of the most treacherous parts of journalism - telling the truth and getting all your facts right still does not mean the audience will trust you.
Journalists need public scrutiny just like everyone else, she continued, and the reason why she returns to dangerous locations over and over again is because there is no better way to get authentic information than to witness the events yourself.
"Journalism puts you in such a privileged position," she said, because you can meet so many different people, from Iraqi special forces to doctors at a hospital being bombed. As a reporter, you can convey what these people feel and allow your viewers to experience those emotions.
"There so much tribalism in the media but we’ve got to stick together because we all need each other, we need to fight the good fight," she concluded.
The new series of Hotspots: On The Front Line starts tonight on Sky Documentaries at 9 pm and on Sky News tomorrow at 9 pm, also streaming on now.
Free daily newsletter
- Tip: Use simple formats to cover emotionally-charged topics
- Tip: Build trust by responding to readers' concerns
- Indifference, not hostility, is the main barrier to building trust in news
- Must-have skills for a media startup CEO: Chase Palmieri of Credder
- Data journalism: five ideas for more effective industry–academic collaboration