Thursday, April 7, 2011

SPJ meets a Broadcast Major

Ben Carter

Forgive me for getting a little personal for this first blog, but the very first code of ethics I read, belonging to the Society of Professional Journalists, really spoke to me. I don't normally willingly bring up my most ambitious goal for my life, as there is a very small chance it will be attainable, not that I won't try my hardest, however. Being that this is an ethics class, I feel it is appropriate for the audience to get to know their blogger and what they intend to do with their career in journalism from an ethical standpoint, and that is the goal of this post.

The Goal: Basic Outline
It is a pretty simple idea, yet the logistics are mind-numbing for someone without hardly a contact in the journalism world such as myself, but I suppose the pursuit of the American Dream necessitates hard work. I want to create a new media outlet, comprised primarily of the start-up broadcast station, but of course evolving and expanding into other fields.

What is the Purpose?
This theoretical company of mine is meant to serve true to the most benevolent principles of journalism. It is also meant to propose a new solution to dealing with the bias issues that seem to plague people's opinion of media, especially in broadcast, that simply involves being up front about every reporter/ anchor's affiliations and beliefs. 

With a business model that depends 100 percent on selling the station as an ethical establishments true to the roots of journalism, this transparency will create more pressure on the journalist to cover a story that calls for objectivity in that manner (hard news), while a story that may call for a bit of flavoring with opinion or editorializing as a commentary will be open in which side it supports. 

Of course, the idea depends on hiring a diverse staff of reporters to where both sides of any issue could be represented. Truly an organization that doesn't care about creating near dichotomies in our society, but only being news-gatherers, watchdogs, and only commentators when the forum is open. The name in my head for the station had always been the SEJ, the Society of Ethical Journalists, but now I'm having second thoughts...

So... Connection to Readings?
Well, back to what I just said, something many of you probably noticed from being affiliated with the organization, is that the name for my dream project is only a one acronym letter difference to the SPJ. This was unintentional having never been a member of SPJ, but after reading through the code of ethics for the society, I realized that the uncanny similarity goes deeper than the name, but in the content of the of the purposes of the organizations. The last paragraph is essentially a paraphrase of the points within the SPJ's code of conduct, except my idea is for a new outlet, and the SPJ is an organizations with a much different purpose. Perhaps my illustrious future, should I be lucky enough to have one, could even an attempt to merge the two ideas, as I see a mutually beneficial relationship between them.

Keep in mind that these ideas are just the dream of young journalist who is full of hope about what he and his generation can create when we take the reigns of the industry. But hey, the more allies I get the less the idea will be tagged as a "dream," and more as a goal. But no matter what you think of the concept, always remember to hold strong to what the SPJ tells us about a true journalist: "professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility."

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