Monday, October 7, 2013

Responsibility of journalists

Ji Ren

The story about ethics and responsibility reminds me of the high school lives of students in China. It says that "intense pressure by management to reach unrealistic goals or targets" is one of the factors that "can cause honest and decent people to break the rules." If you tell this to any Chinese high school student, they probably will agree with it because it is a summary or reflection of what Chinese high school students are experiencing nowadays.

Under the pressure of a huge population, in China students are all struggling with the entrance examinations of different levels.  Among those students, high school students are suffering from the pressure the most. Parents and teachers are like management for reporters, giving them a large amount of work and unrealistic goals every day. However, it is not alternative; students are expected to accomplish all those goals and show great progress on studies so that they can make their parents' and teachers' dreams come true -- attending a good university.

Usually, a good university equals a university ranked within top 50 universities in China. Of course, this is not easy work for most of the students. If students fail the work, they will upset their parents, which many students are unwilling to do. Thus a great number of students choose to cheat on school exams to show their "improvements" rather than being honest.

Just ike that journalists, sometimes under the pressure, have to break the rules and make up news so that they can accomplish the unrealistic goals of the newspaper companies. Why not re-think about those photographers whom we talked about in previous classes? Is it fair to blame only them for altering those photos? Taking consideration of each case, I believe that what they did are all related to pressure. I also believe that their newspaper organizations should take responsibility for their behaviors.

In the article "What the news crop. scandal can teach us about image," I totally agree with the sentence "When an enterprise's only reputation is the reputation of its leader, bad news immediately becomes personalized. And when the leader's reputation is cold and ruthless, there is little goodwill to use as defensive capital." In my opinion, it is important for both management and reporters to think about and take responsibility for each other. Leaders of news companies set the rules to manage and regulate the company, so when they assign missions to reporters, it is necessary to consider whether the mission is beyond the reporter's ability or not.

Meanwhile, reporters should always remember their journalistic core values, put the public's interest in the first position and never violate the rules to pander to their leaders' goals. Although reporters are bundled tightly with their management, they are still independent and should not blindly follow what their leader says. So it is always good for journalists to set a clear boundary between ethical and unethical behaviors. (This article helps identify some unethical behaviors.) More importantly, a journalist should know that being responsible does not mean being unethical.

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