Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Values: What does it mean?

Hannah Yang | hy135010@ohiou.edu

I think as many budding journalists are making that trek into the news industry, we will also have to think about the future as we begin to look into some of the values of journalism. What affects it and if anything, do journalists have to adapt to a changing society? A changing time?

Yet, while reading over the code of Ethics and values, I've come to the conclusion, that it really just depends on you, the journalist, to decide whether something is more important to you.While I've been over the moon trying to figure out these different stories that could have significant meaning, I've also realized that to me, being myself as a reporter is important, as is sticking by my instincts.

I got to follow my sources and really engage myself in the story
regarding ROTC programs. Though I was immersed, I still remained
objective and transparent in what I wanted to know.  Photo | Hannah Yang
There were times when I had to remember what I specifically wanted to protect in my job. What I wanted to protect in my sources, what I wanted to protect in my hopes and dreams for the future of journalism.

I remember that it's always important to be transparent, to be engaging with the community that I am reporting for. As always, report on what is true.

Times have changed and values possibly can be changed as well. However, for the most part, they maintain the same thoughts and purposes that a journalist should hold near and dear to their heart. In the readings, there were descriptions of various different values that should still be important to a variety of people.

Frankly, I believe that transparency and sticking to reporting the best to our ability remains some of the most important things that a journalist can pull away from their experiences. We must be willing to report on anything that may harm our community.

We are the watchdogs of our communities, and anything that could potentially destroy that public trust is what I think is the biggest failure of journalism. We are here to establish that trust between us and our community. We have to be transparent during times of confusing and dissension. We have to be strong and courageous to question things and getting out of our comfort zones.

I remember covering an event where the topic of mental health and suicide prevention was the main focus. Speakers of all kinds attended, including one woman who courageously shared her experiences of being admitted into rehabilitation because of her suicide attempts. I wanted to make sure that, even if it was being told in public, that it was OK to publish her name in the newspaper. She agreed.

Sometimes, our industry forgets the most important thing about news is that we must never forget those we serve, our communities, our publications, our loved ones and also ourselves. This profession, in my opinion, can never be for the faint of heart or the wary. No matter what the story is, we must be willing to protect, to be transparent and report to the best of our ability.

I covered the Stop the Silence event that sought out awareness
for mental health and suicide prevention. It was a somber event, but
filled with hope. Photo | Hannah Yang
Though an argument can be presumably be made that too much transparency can intercede our independence, I disagree. I believe that maintaining a relationship with your sources and your community is a service and that it'd be a major instigator of public trust if the various journalists began hiding what they were reporting or if they had some ulterior motive in the things they reported on.
I believe as journalists, we must be transparent with our readers because we must be able to trustworthy in their eyes. We want to exhibit several things with them, however, it's important to remember that transparency does not inhibit our ability to do our jobs and being independent but fosters the relationships we have with our communities. We cannot betray trust, but if trust is what we need within our news industry, then our values have to coincide with it.

This video is a project that ABC News Primetime used to expose different situations and how others would response to it. In these cases, however, I'm not sure this is what warrants transparency. Though this does expose different aspects of society, I feel that it is not honest because everything is staged and participants know nothing about this. I feel that being 100 percent honest with your audience is important in all aspects of journalist.

Really, values depend on situation, time as well as the individual. But, we must remember not to compromise what we strive to be.

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