Monday, October 13, 2014
Media's Responsibility to the Public
A journalist's job is to report the truth while also avoiding any harm that could be caused to those on which they are reporting. But when stories contain content that can easily cause harm to the public, journalists are put in a sticky situation over reporting the whole truth while remaining sensitive to the public.
Media Sensitivity in the Wake of Tragedy
When a tragedy happens, journalists face the problem of reporting the story with speed or reporting the story with complete accuracy. Sometimes, when the story is reported with speed, facts could be incorrect. This has become evident in numerous cases such as the tragedies at Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon Bombing and in Ferguson, Missouri.
Sandy Hook and Boston Marathon Bombing
Reports emerging after the Sandy Hook shooting wrongly identified the shooter as actual shooter Adam Lanza's brother, Ryan. The Boston Marathon Bombing had seen numerous reports about suspects being in custody when they weren't and additional bombs found without confirmation. These inaccuracies are detrimental to both the news organization and the public which they are reporting on.
Journalism and Social Media
The emerging of digital media has both been helped and harmed by social media. Twitter is a large platform for reporting the news quickly, but is it always accurate? This has been evident in the reporting on the incidents in Ferguson, Missouri. There was a great divide between the professional reporting done by journalists and the public reporting done by citizens of the community.
How can it Change?
Journalists can avoid these inaccuracies that can cause harm by checking all facts before publishing. This can also be avoided by checking all tweets before using them as information sources. Once journalists dissolve the line between reporting with speed and reporting with accuracy, they can remain sensitive to the public while reporting all the facts.