Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bribery: Never a Good Idea

Anne Campolongo

Who doesn’t ever want or need a little extra cash?  But let me ask you this, would you still take the cash even though you knew you were putting your job on the line?  Why do people, specifically journalists, think it is okay to get paid from a client?

Ethics are for us to follow

A code of ethics is vital to any type of journalist, especially nowadays.  For any job, really, people can act shady and participate in acts that are morally incorrect.  I think that The Public Relations Society of America’s “Member Statement of Professional Values” states a very plain, yet powerful, core principle.  It states, “Avoiding real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest builds the trust of clients, employers and the publics.”  Check out PRSA's code of ethics here The Society of Professional Journalists has ethics suggestions too.  Every newspaper, TV station, any publication for that matter, wants to have a solid fan base where their fans trust them.  Anytime any employees of some publication lose the trust of their viewers or readers, they lose credibility as well. 

It shouldn’t matter if you are famous or not either.  Many TV stations have main talents or main reporters paying clients for quotes or being paid to say something from the viewer.  This is just downright unethical.  When you get a job in journalism, ethics should be the No. 1 guide you adhere to.  It is always sad when I see “famous” people being exploited for actions they probably knew better than to commit. 

Once in the professional scene, we must hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and own up to them.  There is no reason for professional adults to be doing such unethical acts that any person with a conscious would know better than to do.  These people are role models for many, and when they are exposed it decreases many aspects of their position. 
What happened to our morals?

I don’t know about you, but what happened to the good, old-fashioned, gut feeling?  Professional journalists/PR representatives, etc. have to have some type of heart…right?  What happened to good vs. bad and right vs. wrong?  If you absolutely love your job, why would you cheat your way out of it? To me, it doesn’t seem right that there have been so many incidents of reporters getting paid to say something and/or paying for interviews with people.  Cheating or taking the easy way out is all too common.  Of course bribery and paying your way out have been in our society for a while, but it is up to us to stop that.  Maybe the younger professionals need to show others the proper way to handle situations. 

I cannot believe that paying someone for an interview or anything of the sort happens so often or that so many companies know employees are doing things they shouldn’t be and don’t take any action against it.  If you do something wrong, you should have to take the punishment, and managers should enforce this. We all have a code of ethics to follow, no matter what.   

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