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.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Stand out among the imposters
I tweet, I have a blog, I have a voice. Nowadays anyone can "report" the news and it is more important than ever to make sure the "real" journalists stand out.
So the news outlets start going digital. They add more content to their websites, they add more videos and they are tweeting more than ever! But is that enough? How can they stay ethical in this digital age and on social media?
In The New Ethics of Journalism written by McBride and Rosenthal they say that the new values for journalists are to: 1. Seek the truth and report it as fully as possible, 2. Be transparent and 3. Engage community. This is opposed to the 1990s, when the top three ethical values were to 1. Seek truth and report it as fully as possible, 2. Act independently, and 3. Minimize harm.
Although the original three are still as important as ever these new three will help journalists today stand out in this world of digital media and news imposters.
Seek The Truth
Now, with everything going digital, seeking the full and accurate truth can be a little harder because everyone is trying to get that first tweet out or that first online story. So you have to think, is it better to be the first one or is it better to wait a little longer and make sure your story is 100 percent accurate? If you tell the wrong story it will lose people's trust and faith in you.
Going off of seeking the truth, if you do end up jumping the gun and being the first one to submit a story online or via social media, but it turns out to be wrong, you need to own up to your mistakes and retract your statement. Be open and honest and allow people to trust you. If they feel as if you are hiding something or if your opinion is clouding your judgement in the story they may just go somewhere else.
This is important now more than ever. The community, your audience, is all over the digital sphere watching every move. Every news article, every journalist, they are watching. So interact with them; make them feel as if they have a part of the story. Comments and likes now rule engagement between the news and the audience.