Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Journalism and the People It Serves

Paola Santiago Del Castillo

In a world where news comes at you from every angle and form of media distribution, ethical journalism has come to the highest peak of importance. News is no longer anchored to print and TV. In today’s day and age, an individual can choose to get their news anywhere, whether that be Twitter, Facebook or The New York Times. Journalists now have to strive for certain ethical values more than ever before. They also have to deal with and enhance to ongoing evolution of these values as their audience changes and grows.

Independency vs. Transparency

Journalists are taught from day one to strive for truth, no matter what. Independency teaches us to write and inform without being influenced by outside parties that waver from the truth and integrity of a story or the journalist. 

Transparency teaches us to reveal the clockwork of story to further establish credibility. Some journalists think that transparency is getting out of hand and is used as a means to bandage rather than heal splotchy journalism. Yet transparency works with indecency in that it serves to establish a standard for journalistic credibility. 

In this way transparency and independency urges us, as journalists, to focus on informing the public as clearly as possible, and it encourages the public to read on and trust that the information they are getting is accurate.

Engaging the Community

(Not to be confused with community journalism, or journalism with a focus on a specific community rather than national or international news.) In the marketplace of ideas, information is transient and free-flowing. Therefore, it makes sense that the community which receives information should have an important role in its making. 

This is not to say that journalists should ignore the value of independency but rather that they should consider the needs, interests and goals of the public they are serving. After all, our duty as journalists is to the public.

In the age of digital media, the public creates a community for themselves by commenting on, liking or up-voting what they read and view on the Internet. It is our job as journalists to pay close attention to these communities as they help improve our methods of research, distribution and communication. We can only know how to interact with our audience if we immerse ourselves in it and if we make it our goal to further improve community ties and bonds through ethical journalism.

Photo Credit: Ebony 

The public is no longer looking for a cut and dry story. They want interactivity and connections to other news sources. Their thirst for knowledge has never been bigger and because news belongs to the public, it is a journalist’s job to serve the public. 

Using transparency should no longer be seen as detrimental but as a means to serve the community and provide that instant gratification of information and interactivity that our public craves. Engaging the community is not only in the best interest of the journalist but of the community itself. Without and news sources that they can rely on, where else can we expect our public to inform themselves?

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