Saturday, September 21, 2013

Money vs. Morals, Which Would You Choose?

Meagan Dixon

One of the biggest critiques of journalism lately has been the question of "is paying for stories ethical?"
Should this even be a question? The whole point of journalism is to find stories and tell them to the world, not pay people to give you a story and then share it as if you worked hard to find it.

In today's society, I think now more than ever, journalists are under a lot of pressure. We are considered liars, we aren't trusted and we are expected to know everything going on with any aspect of life. We tell the truth and are hated, but if we lie we are considered unethical. I understand the pressure, but what happened to overcoming hatred and adversity and making something of yourself?

Money vs. Morals

Paying for stories comes down to one thing: are you willing to sacrifice your reputation and morals for some extra cash?

In this article, the author talks of how maybe the choice isn't so obvious, even though it should be. It is sad to think this is what the world has come to. Our world is scared of the truth, yet audiences beg and plead to know it.

Paying for stories is easy money. You get the fame of breaking a great story and you increase your reputation, until you get caught. Are you willing to play the game, build up your reputation and then throw it all away because you were too lazy to find a story like every other journalist?

Establish Boundaries

I think every newspaper or media outlet should establish rules. They should have a code of ethics hanging in every room of their establishment and should preach good, solid journalism. It isn't hard to find great stories. They are everywhere. If you want to find a huge, breaking story like Ariel Castro, you are going to have to work harder than everyone else. That is just how it is.

Every type of journalist should have a personal code of ethics. Reporters, PR professionals, magazine writers, sports broadcasters and even designers should have their own code of ethics. PR people especially struggle with money vs. morals. Account associates could be assigned to a client they are completely against morally. Do they represent them? It depends on the agencies and their own personal code of ethics. Ways to combat this contradiction can be found here.

Truth Will Prevail

If there is a journalist that is criticized for his honesty, he will soon be rewarded for the same thing. Think about having a friend that tells you "Yes, your butt does look big in those jeans." You are mad at them and don't want to talk to them for a long time. But, when the time comes where you need the truth more than ever, you will go to that friend and depend on them for the exact same thing that you were once mad at them for: honesty. The truth always prevails and it can heal a lot of pain. Paying for stories is immoral and will only lead to errors and a bad reputation. People don't view this as good journalism, they view it as desperate journalism.

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