Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Monday, September 23, 2013
The Slippery, Slimy, Glassy Slope
Emily Beekman email@example.com
“Integrity” Won’t Stop Them
In our Journalism 3400 course, we hear about
integrity; the integrity of the reporter, the integrity of the wealthy
newspaper owner, the integrity of the blogger hidden behind a computer
screen. The biggest problem is the
word’s definition in regards to the media.
Most journalists will say that “integrity” is not defined clearly. Why is it so wrong for a journalist to endorse
a company? One might think that it is
safely inside the bounds of integrity.
a journalist’s power exceeds the need to play by the book, the slope begins to escalate. If a news anchor is already
a wealthy, influential person in the area, what is one more investment, one
more endorsement? Who is really going to
stop them? The only solution is
regulation and clear lines being drawn. In
today’s media and society, the word “integrity” isn’t going to stop them. In order to avoid corruption of journalism,
the rules need to be clear.
reason the media’s slope is so slippery is because of advancement in today’s
society. There is no way to stop the
flow of information, and no way to monitor that flow. The Sun doesn’t see the wrong in paying for
that information, because it’s what the public needs! So what if they take a fewshortcuts… it’s the public’s right to know! I don’t agree, but I also recognize that we can’t go back to the way things used
to be. There is no longer a clear line between
factual, objective reporting (which some already try to rationalize as old-fashioned
and not the standard in this new environment); and advertising, promotion or dishonesty.
The slope is insidious and slick as glass; and
is just becoming more so. However, like glass, in this information age
the slope is more and more transparent and reflective – so the open media, which
sliders use to justify their approach, both exposes their slimy slides and also
becomes their accuser! The opportunist-journalists
revealed in David Sirota’s article (2010) illustrate this skid off the course
of ethical journalism.
Ethics and PR
ethical gray area is as present as ever in the field of public relations. In a society that is as profit-driven as
ours, ethics can get lost in the mix.
Isn’t the goal of a firm to make the best deals, for the best clients,
in order to make the most money? With
this, moral questions must come into concern.
But what makes the PR
professionals different from traditional journalists is the
consciousness of loyalty. It’s
understood that sometimes conflicts of interest happen, but it makes sense from
a simple customer service standpoint to avoid what can be avoided. These ethics are always in mind, causing for
hesitation before making a decision to break unsure
grounds. PR is
also different from traditional journalism, because whereas traditional
journalism is impersonal, going out to the public, public relations has a consultative
relationship with the client, built on trust and the
In summary, we,
as the new professionals, cannot say we did not see this slide happening. We are leading this new media age and will
be extending it beyond what we even imagine today. And
as journalists, we will be responsible to halt the slide and stabilize the