Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Real Life has No Reset Buttons

Marc Krauss

Growing up as the youngest of three boys, it is safe to say that I had my fair share of what my dad used to call “teachable moments.” I was always trying to be as good at whatever my brothers were doing, usually without much success. I will always remember when we used to play video games growing up. I was usually losing and since I did not want to own up to my inferiority on the sticks, I would just hit reset on the game console. This way I could just start all over at ground zero again. 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that our generation of the next journalists have grown up in a much different world than of those of the past. We have basically grown up with computers, technology and the Internet all growing right along with us. I don’t know how anyone could have been a journalist before the ease of infinite information that is available to us by way of the Internet. Any story can be researched with just a couple clicks of button. And with that ease of information, it can be tempting to “copy and paste” some quotes or information on your issue. Just make sure your stories don’t end up here.

But that is the challenge facing us today -- to not take the easy way or short-cut in our journalism endeavors. As we found out in the readings, it can be very easy to make up sources or plagiarize information to beef up your stories. I can see the pressure from the editors making it a little easier to try to cheat the system. This, however, can not be an option for a journalist in today’s day and age. I would agree with our reading from the American Journalism Review that not only are more people cheating in today’s society, they are feeling less and less guilty about doing so. We must show that ethics is still apart of our profession, or else people will just call us hypocrites. 

Seeing is Believing???

Pictures, especially in today’s world of quick and easy information, are very important to journalism. It seems the trend of more visuals and less words is growing to keep up with society’s rapid pace. But not all pictures tell the real story. Just as plagiarism and cheating have started to become an issue with writing, they are also causing issues in photojournalism. Photographers have gone to such lengths as to photoshop unwanted eyesores out of their shots, in order to get their shots published. It is a quick and slippery slope, as Sacramento Bee photographer Bryan Patrick found out the hard way in early 2012.

Photoshopped photojournalism gone wrong in 1994
(via: huffingtonpost.com)

All of the readings from this week go over the basic guidelines for not only journalism, but for being a good citizen: Cheaters never prosper. Whether we are writing a story or adding photography, taking the easy way out should never even cross our minds. As products of Ohio University’s Scripps school, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. No amount of pressure from outside sources or editors should allow a journalist to plagiarize or fabricate information. It is about holding yourself accountable at all times.

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