With another year under our belt, I can't help but remember the old almanacs where every year's events are handpicked depending on their impact. Entering the new year, newspapers usually publish their reviews of the yesteryear while journalists write about their hopes and expectations for the upcoming one.
Drawing from this New Year's tradition, I decided to join the trend as the reader's representative of Daily Sabah by writing about my hopes and wishes for both our newspaper and other media organizations.
First off, I hope Daily Sabah's circulation and web traffic increases in 2018. This can only be done by raising the quality of content and service of the newspaper. Writing and publishing interesting news and deepening investigations will help create much-discussed columns that catch the eye of the readers.
But improving content alone is not enough. From design to editorship, publishing to circulation, and website layout to speed; all of the steps that form the bridge from the newspaper to the reader must be perfected. Although I only mentioned Daily Sabah at the beginning, I hope all of the conventional media experiences a similar increase in quality, circulation and traffic. A rising tide raises all ships after all.
Next, I hope for less complaints and more praise from our readers. But above all, I hope for more interaction and letters because only with feedback and hearing out our readers can we improve ourselves. So, don't be shy in 2018.
I wish for an impeccable record throughout 2018 for our newspaper and all other media organizations. I hope for a year without press trips that have everything except journalism. I hope all journalists avoid forming relations based on self-interest with PR companies or other news sources. Rejecting expensive gifts and bribes, all journalists must be beyond reproach.
I hope that racism, xenophobia, discrimination and similar malice find no place in newspaper pages. I hope that news articles that involve women, children and elderly receive all due consideration and get written in a way that does not cause them undue suffering. I hope that Daily Sabah becomes a stalwart representative and defender of the rights of women, children and all other rights we have as human beings.
Besides all of this, I hope none of the news articles in our newspaper contain prejudice, factual mistakes or a lack of research while failing to go through proper confirmation processes.
I wish that journalists and newspapers hold the presumption of innocence and respect for the right to reply and retort at the highest esteem. I hope that no one gets declared guilty until their crime is proven in a court of law.
I hope that reporters and editors avoid donning the hats of judges, prosecutors or lawyers by arguing for and against on any number of issues or people in a biased manner. Protecting objectivity is a must for credible journalism and I wish for my colleagues to always maintain that balance. Getting swept up in the glamour of our vocation is a sure way to lose our ability to feel empathy.
I also hope that people's privacy is respected both by Daily Sabah and other news organizations throughout 2018. Except in cases where there are clear benefits to public good, privacy must be protected. I hope we do not witness cases where journalists rush through the boundaries of criticism while belittling or slandering people to serve their agenda.
I hope we do not experience any terror attacks both in our country and around the globe. But if we do, I wish that journalists and media organizations publish news articles that do not normalize or encourage terrorism. We must learn from our mistakes and media already has too many of them.
I wish that our newspaper avoids any reports where suicide is encouraged with instructive elements to them. Emphasizing the location, method and the reasons behind the suicide along with the characteristics of the deceased must be a thing of the past.
I hope we manage to grasp the principle of the individuality of crimes and criminal responsibility. Far too many relatives and close ones of the guilty became fodder in news articles without any clear reason already.
Moreover, I wish that Daily Sabah manages to avoid making any mistakes. But if we do, I hope we manage to act decisively to accept the serious mistakes and correct them promptly while allowing those damaged by the mistake to use their right to refute.
I hope that in the new year, we see clear lines between news and advertisement instead of constantly blurring ones that prey on the readers.
We all know that the illusion that goes with a number on the calendar does not possess a mystical power to make these wishes come true. Regardless, the excuse was here, and I wanted to remind our colleagues of the basic principles we must follow to improve our credibility both as journalists and the media as a whole.
And finally, I hope that all of our readers have a wonderful and happy new year.