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.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
We All Have Blogs, What's the Point?
I have a blog. You most likely have a blog. We all have
blogs. With all of those individual voices floating around the grand ole
world wide web, what exactly is the point of journalism? If we can share
whatever we wish with our desired audience, then why do individuals still worry
themselves with reporting and the field of journalism as a whole?
Source: The Summa, a Wordpress blog
In the age of the blogger, the only things that separate
paid journalists from those able to communicate their views over blogging
formats like Wordpress or Blogger are the ethical standings a true journalist
holds. In a recent article, Social Media Today further explores the importance of blogging and its importance to the
technological age we inhabit.
As expected the ethical standings of one generation may not
hold up in a more progressive generation. Fashion trends fade from parachute
pants to skinny jeans, and the same remains true for ethical codes in the
journalism field. With fear and awe we have zoomed into an era of non-existent
privacy and easy access to personal information.
As the years have rolled past, people have become more
comfortable sharing the most intimate details of their personal lives on social
media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In this ethical minefield,
journalists have had to reassess their core standings, but the following reflect
the best of the old standards, with a dash of modernity.
Truth Above All
Unlucky for those of you without knowledge of the incredible
film Moulin Rouge, but the term truth never fails to bring forth recollections
of the bohemians’ dedication to truth, beauty and above all things love.
In many ways those three aspects apply to the field of
journalism. No matter the era, truth will forever remain the core purpose
behind a true journalist. The story isn’t worth reporting if the content is
false, and the audience deserves the truth. No matter the cost down the line,
many prominent journalists, including those involved with the Wikileaks scandal
and those uncovering Watergate, understood that truth came before all else.
Truth is the testament by which a journalist or blogger
guides himself. Without it, any published stories could be considered the
ramblings of a bumbling fool.
Can you see through me?
I’m sure at this point, the term transparency has been
shoved down the throat of every potential journalist to an extreme, but it’s
necessity remains. In a world of background checks, hacking into one another’s Facebook and Twitter profiles and generally exposing liars, one must be able to see
through the lies.
If there’s nothing to hide then why hide it?
In many aspects journalists protect their stories, leads,
sources, etc., but might it be to the detriment of their story? The people of
the digital age have been taught to question what they don’t fully comprehend.
Hook the Community
If a journalist hopes to intrigue anyone, he/she needs to
find the niche or community most in need of this news. In an age of
never-ending information, establishing a community hungry for the stories one
churns out is crucial.
Create a community based on the above principles, but respect
this community’s ethical code and react appropriately. If a stay-at-home mother can
get her news from CNN or any national web syndicate, one must give her a reason to read the weekly newspaper
delivered to her doorstep.
Finally, in this age of too many online contributors, one
must consider some “guidelines” for what truly defines a journalist. This 2012
ruling, as reported in an article by Forbes, might serve as an interesting point of validation for those involved
in the field.