Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The New Era

Casey Weinfurtner

We don’t need an expert to tell us the field of journalism is making some big changes. In fact, we don’t need an old professional clinging onto the old styles to tell us it won’t be changed either. Journalism is indeed making a large shift, and it has increasingly done so as the years of self-generated content continues to bloom. With Internet and media adding a whole new twist to the way we gather and share our information, the younger generation is learning to build this change while our older generation must learn to adapt.

The changes in journalism can be frightening when we’re faced with statistics like 21 out of 24 major newspapers in the country reporting a decline in their paid circulation of newspapers as of October 2009, or that between 2005- 2013, print advertising fell 50 percent and has now migrated to online publications instead. The change can be even more unwanted when almost all major newspapers like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, are now offering subscriptions digitally rather than only offering paper copies to help alongside the journalism occupation decline.

But it is not just the shift to online newspapers taking credit for the transition into a new journalism. Social media is becoming a remarkably popular tool for journalists and individuals to easily express their own viewpoint on issues or everyday life.  

Ranging from blog posts to Twitter rants, there is an overload of opinionated information floating out in cyberspace available to journalists. This inevitably faces journalists of today with an ethical decision to either learn the ways of the field and background check the easily located information or disregard old values and succumb to the new era: The Digital Age.

How to Change With What is Changing

The core ethical values Poytner presented in their 1990 ethical codes (Truth, Minimize Harm, Independence) are still just as present today as they were when these codes were re-enforced that year. Although the field is changing, this does not mean the values or codes we follow necessarily need to be lost. Regardless of how the world challenges journalism with advancements in the media, Internet and technology, there is still a duty as a journalist to seek out the truth and present the truth without causing any harm and with independent responsibility.

It is now much easier for journalists to gain information but much harder for them to distinguish which sources are reliable. Although there is much more liability or responsibility from where you are gaining your information, this does not diminish the significance the ethical codes have instilled. Truth, minimizing harm and independence are still just as important as they were 50 years ago. 

A good journalist nowadays may have to work even harder to capture the truth, but they can still equally represent it and remain ethical in their choices to do so. A strong-willed journalist willing to seek only the truth to share won’t be persuaded by the shortcuts the Internet and media often present for us.

Though the new era is here and continuing to grow, those daring to stand in the journalistic field should not shy away from the change but rather embrace it. Learn to grow with the field, and the field will grow alongside great work and a great truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment