Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hot Topic, No Easy Answers

OHL

Journalism’s crucial role in helping democracy function is sometimes forgotten amid the commotion of biased debate and the messy nature of the news business. But anyone who stops to examine recent examples of journalistic success and the substantial civic impacts of various news media investigations cannot help but be impressed by the vital role of the press. 

The Internet is one of the most remarkable things human beings have ever made. In terms of its impact on society, it ranks with print, the railways, the telegraph, the automobile, electric power and television. Some would compare it with print and television, the two earlier technologies that most transformed the communications environment in which people live. Yet it is potentially more powerful than both because it harnesses the intellectual leverage which print gave to mankind without being hobbled by the one-to-many nature of broadcast television. With the Internet, journalists and everyone for that matter can get the latest “news” out to the world within seconds.

The web's effect on news reporting is considered the most clear evidence that this is a revolutionary technology: news editors – and in some cases, the governments that they observe – are no longer the gatekeepers to information because costs of distribution have almost completely disappeared. If knowledge is power, the web is the greatest tool in the history of the world.

The process that happens before a story is published has also been transformed. The web has become the go-to point for the globe when it comes to getting information; it's the same for reporters. Online, they find a multiplicity of perspectives and a library of available knowledge that provides the context for stories. Increasingly, the stories are coming from the web. People use the web to connect to the experience by watching it in real time on TV and then posting on message boards and forums. They post bits of information they knew themselves and aggregate it with links from elsewhere.


Protesters set a squad car on fire and broke windows at City Hall.  REUTERS/Jim Young

Ferguson, Missouri, arose with racial tension and riots resulting from the police shooting death of Michael Brown.  The event received considerable attention in the U.S. and elsewhere. It attracted protesters from outside the region, and generated a vigorous debate about the relationship between law enforcement and African Americans and police use of force doctrine in Missouri and nationwide. 

On the one year anniversary of this shooting, the St. Louis County executive declared a state of emergency here on Monday as officials and activists sought to regain control of the volatile streets after plainclothes police officers shot and critically wounded an 18-year-old black man who they said was firing on them late the night before.

What is the world coming to?  That’s all I ever think anymore when a new shooting hits the news.  Since when is it OK to undermine law enforcement?  Yes, there are situations where the officer may act inappropriately, but same goes for the suspect.  If people would just listen to law enforcement when they tell them to put their hands up, get on the ground, or whatever it may be without arguing or lunging toward the officer, the officers wouldn’t feel threatened.  Law enforcement is there to protect us.  They put their lives on the line for us, every day. Journalism has both a positive and negative affect on this situation.

Journalists in the Media

Sheldon Good
sg751615@ohio.edu

Journalists in the Media

One of the great things about journalism is its ability to inform and change public opinion. Educating the public well necessitates a certain level of involvement by members of the media that at times can cause the journalist to become part of the story. Generally this is not good. A story’s credibility can become tainted if it becomes a reporter’s personal anecdote. Members of the media need to get close enough to tell a story well, but not so close that they affect the story or cause harm by their news-gathering. As the SPJ code of ethics states, “Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness."

Ferguson in the News

With the racial tension and riots in Ferguson, MO resulting from the police shooting death of Michael Brown, there were instances of the media sharing personal opinions about the events. Don Lemon of CNN, during an interview with Brown’s parents told them they could contact him personally if they needed anything. Other reporters went beyond reporting to decry the manner in which police where dealing with events in Ferguson. One of the other problems in Ferguson and other similar events is the fact that pseudo-journalists, people with a large social media following, are also reporting on events and updating their followers. With social media users used to up to the minute updates of news, real and faux reporters compete for attention, going to greater and greater lengths to get the scoop. While the non-journalists may not care about personal interaction with subjects or law enforcement, neither the public nor the police are likely to make much distinction in how they treat whomever is reporting the news. This will end up making it harder on the those journalists who are trying to do their job well.

The line between reporting and opinion is blurring in Ferguson. | Madeline Marshall/POLITICO

Positive Impact

There are ways for journalists to bring positive change with their involvement. Diversity in the newsroom is one example. This is something that requires deliberate action. Wishing for a more diverse staff won’t make it happen. This article from Neiman Reports tells how the Atlanta Journal-Constitution deliberately increased the diversity of their editorial team. The AJC editor states it makes for better stories for readers and thus also makes good business sense. In a Huffington Post blog, the editorial director of Slant News says audiences are going to demand more diversity and that a diverse staff will enable better news coverage.

Another positive impact can be seen in how photos are used with news stories. While journalists are very good at ensuring the accuracy of their reporting and text articles, that hasn’t always been the case with images. Poverty is something that hasn’t always been properly visually represented. Martin Gilens, a political professor at Princeton did a study on photos accompanying news articles on American poverty to demonstrate the over-representation of blacks as poor. In his study he noticed the Seattle Times began auditing photos to see how minorities were represented. After seeing that minorities were more negatively portrayed than whites, the Times consciously changed how they represented minorities in photos.

This, I believe, is the best side of journalism. Journalists have a great opportunity to effect change and it is a responsibility that should be taken seriously.  

Quick or Right?

Jasmine Lambert
jl867112@ohio.edu

The execution of one thing with the sacrifice of another has been the dilemma of journalists for decades. The common example of this is the idea of getting the story and being first versus following the ethical codes and reporting an ethically accurate story.

With the immersion of the social media age and an increasing belief of the public that they should have unlimited access to all information at all times, journalists are starting to have a hypercompetitive mindset. Some journalists are starting to forget the ethics codes in exchange for the first story and an increased number of Twitter followers. Personally, I would much rather wait a few minutes for an accurate story than get false information a few seconds after the event occurred. These "quick" journalists seem to ignore the possibility of being wrong in order to get credit for being first.

The major protests following the shooting of unarmed Mike Brown by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri were main examples of "quick journalism." Many of the journalists and photographers that reported on the Ferguson event failed to implement the ethical principles when reporting their stories. The public was eager for up-to-the-minute information and relied on journalists to tweet and use social media as a platform for news stories.

The ethical principles mentioned above are the four established in the SPJ Code of Ethics. Those four are to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable and transparent. What some of the journalists failed to do while reporting in Ferguson was to remember to minimize harm for all parties involved.

Photo: www.telegraph.co.uk
Some reporters put individuals in danger and also gave authorities access to their personal information, creating evidence against them if they participated in illegal activity. Live streaming and tweeting locations after curfew were examples mentioned in Malcolm Harris' article for Aljazeera America as reasons for getting individuals in trouble with the police.

They also lacked discretion on certain stories they reported. I believe that discretion is an important virtue that journalists must choose to use when deciding what and who to put in their stories. Without discretion, many stories would offend and be unworthy of publication.

Another dilemma presented in Ferguson and other cases around the United States, is the idea of how to properly address and report the lives of black people. In today's society, many things can get misconstrued and be considered offensive even if the journalists has no ill will or intent on disrespecting a group of people.

Unfortunately, black people, especially black men, are usually portrayed in a negative light in the media. Most stories involving black people are about poverty or crime.

I enjoyed reading the article about #BlackLivesMatter because it highlighted the idea that black people are more than just criminals and poor people, we are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and millionaires. I was raised in a upper middle class home and my parents taught me that being a criminal or being poor would not be my reality if I worked hard. It upsets me when I do not see reflections of myself in the media and instead see people who do not even reflect the majority of the black community.

In recent years, the portrayal of African Americans has started to change but much more work needs to be done and with, what seems like, back to back cases of police brutality against black men and black on black crime it always seems to push progress two steps back.

Regardless of the setbacks, journalists need to remember and always keep in mind the four principles of ethics no matter what they are covering. This will prevent problems while also fulfilling the needs of the public by providing current and timely information.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mistreatment at Ferguson

Nick Kairys
nk596613@ohio.edu

During the Ferguson, Missouri riots last year, the nation had a right to know of the events occurring.

Therefore, journalists did nothing wrong by standing their ground and reporting news, as they had a right to cover the commotion on the scene.

With that being the case, no line can be drawn when reporters are so immersed in their coverage that they are swept into the craze of police orders, tear gas and arrests.

So what can be done to prevent so much chaos and confusion between the need to seek the truth and report it against the responsibility to minimize harm to the public?

It’s most important that journalists conduct research on what they are getting themselves into. They should understand their surroundings and the situation at hand.

As an editor or owner of a publication, it may seem acceptable to throw a reporter right out to the scene because in news you want to be first. And that’s understandable.

In a time, however, where immediacy is highly valued among a society that wants its news quick and at the tips of its fingers, accuracy should be as important as ever.

This means journalists need to have knowledge of where they are positioning themselves and how the situation is unfolding, because a confused journalist cannot write, shoot, or film their work with 100% credibility and efficiency.

It is also imperative that journalists make themselves known to the police. Obviously this doesn’t mean reporters need to show up to riots with a big sign on their forehead that says “I’m a journalist” because that will only attract unwanted attention.

But in times of duress it should be necessary for credentials to be presented to law enforcement. At least something like an ID or passport (as Ellyn Angelotti from the Poynter Institute mentions), which can help clear up shouting matches of whether a reporter has a right to be somewhere.

Law enforcement must take clear action as well. It’s not acceptable to treat journalists wrongly just because a riot is going on and the situation is hectic.

There is no excuse for demanding the press to not record video (it is their public right to do so). And if a journalist must be detained, there should also be clear evidence of the subject breaking a law and a report filed on the matter.

Ohio University alum Wesley Lowery, in his personal account of being arrested in Ferguson, noted that police used excessive force — especially since Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Lowery neither resisted arrest nor put the cops in any danger.

This will not be the last time a riot will break out in the United States, and it is only right that journalists and law enforcement work together in the best interest of the people.

From the verified White House Twitter account, this quote from President Obama sums up how reporters should be protected in this country.

Source of photo: ugtimes.com


If journalists must seek the news and report it to the best of their abilities, it’s only right that they should feel as safe as possible doing so.




The Public’s Unbiased Voice

Alexandria Keller
ak537113@ohio.edu


While aspects of journalism have changed dramatically over time, one thing has not: their duty to report unbiased news for the public. However, with the increase in media outlets, it has been hard to not only keep the public satisfied but also stay independent.

Last summer, when unarmed Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, things began to light up in Ferguson from protests to phone screens. With so much response to the shootings, outraged people began to fill the streets in order to have their voice heard.

In result, reporters and other spectators couldn’t resist the temptation to point their cameras at the commotion and push ‘record’ or ‘tweet’. Putting EVERYONE in the know. However, reporters updating the world on what was going on in Ferguson, also meant updating police.
  
Picture provided by Aljazeera America
So was this a good thing?

I, personally, believe these updates were necessary in order to carry out the job of a journalist. While this did endanger some protesters due aggressive methods the police took in stopping the protests, our job is to be unbiased when reporting, meaning not posting/posting because it may affect on a party poorly.

If reporters would not have posted updates on Ferguson because they were afraid it would cause problems for protesters, then they are no longer keeping their opinion out of the news and with holding information that the public has the right to know. But if reporters did post they were considered arrogant and putting the lives of people in danger even if it wasn't for the good of the police.

This is one of the fine lines that make it hard to be an independent journalist because today people want immediate updates but sometimes it makes them disliked.

Another situation like this was when Kevin Sites posted a disturbing video of a U.S. solider shooting an unarmed, injured Iraqi civilian. The shooter had been shot in the head the day before and released that day into the field. 

The video was graphic and horrifying, leaving people concerned about the U.S. treatment of Iraqi civilians. Sites had the option to turn the video over to the U.S. military to be looked over and potentially never seen by the world, but instead he turned the video into NBC.

This video was not easy for Sites to post for he had been living with and being protected by these men, and now he had a video that could potentially get not just the soldier but U.S. military in trouble.

The video could have caused problems at home with people losing respect for the military, those who were involved, as well as causing problems with future freelance reporters overseas, not to forget the news stations relation with the military. We also can not forget all the potential backlash and danger he could receive from this.

If Sites did not post the video, he would have been violating a code of independence and objectivity.

The people deserved to know. They deserved to know what their military and tax dollars were doing in Iraq. Sites could not think of whether it would hurt the military or the soldiers or even himself.

He had to be a journalist. He had to be the public's unbiased voice.

  

Black Lives Do Matter- Especially In The Newsroom

Alex Lumley
al940712@ohio.edu

The phrase "Black Lives Matter" has been used countless times by scores of people over the past several years, and has been repeated and reinforced every time a black life has been lost to injustice and reported on by the media.

But it's become more than just a phrase, a saying espoused on social media for a week or two and then put to rest, revived only when the next heart-breaking case emerges. It's become a movement.

And a successful movement, one that's changing the national conversation on racial inequality, systemic oppression, and perceptions of injustice. It's certainly forced those running for President in 2016 to more publicly and thoroughly address their plans for changing the status quo in our country. Take progressive hero Bernie Sanders, who was speaking in Seattle in early August when two women identifying with the movement interrupted his event and took him to task on his plan (or lack thereof) for criminal justice reformation.

Senator Bernie Sanders looks away as BLM activists speak at his event in Seattle.
Photo attributed to Alex Garland, taken from this article:
http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/09/22671957/guest-editorial-why-saturdays-bernie-sanders-rally-left-me-feeling-heartbroken 
As the conversation goes on, it's important for journalists to consider the incredibly important role they play in it. Oftentimes, the media has by far the loudest voice in national conversation, and the capability to drown out most other voices. This is especially true with huge media organizations like MSNBC, CNN, and FOX, just to name a few.

And, on the surface, perhaps there's nothing wrong with that. Is it not the role of journalists in society to disseminate truthful information to the public? Is it not their job to facilitate conversation, to cover what's going on in America and to comment on it?

Indeed it is. But it becomes a problem when major media coverage starts to inform public consensus in a negative way. When the public starts to buy into stereotypes that the media has helped to create through their coverage (whether intentionally or not) about those in the minority- about black people, about LGBT people, about poor people, about disabled people, etc, etc.

So, how do we change that? Well, there's one simple way that could start having an effect instantly: diversify, diversify, diversify!

Having a more diverse staff in the newsroom means you'll have more unique perspectives on a major story such as Ferguson. When the people reporting on Ferguson are all a part of the privileged majority, the public is missing out on the perspective of those belonging to the minority, of those being oppressed by the injustice of it all.

But perhaps diversifying the newsroom isn't enough. Of course, having a diverse staff is an excellent step in the right direction. Maybe, as Susan Smith Richardson suggests, it would be more helpful to dedicate an entire beat to the subject of black life in America, covering all facets of the black experience: education, economics, employment, achievement, and certainly struggles over race. And while all journalists should be reporting on race, it may be most beneficial to assign that beat to a reporter of color, someone directly involved with and effected by such issues. This would also serve as a way to empower those being oppressed by giving them a voice and letting them speak for themselves on these issues that affect them every day, as opposed to those in the majority speaking on their behalf.

Some would oppose the creation of beats geared exclusively towards race with the argument that coverage of the black experience should be present within all beats and not limited to its own little corner. And those arguments certainly have merit.

But what's most important to remember is that black lives do indeed matter. And we as a society need to show that they matter by empowering people of color to speak for themselves and get their stories and perspectives out there, so that we may continue to change the conversation and narratives around the black experience in America until one day equality for all will really mean for all.

Mainstream media's #BlackLivesMatter coverage

Alyssa King
ak309413@ohio.edu


The raw coverage of the Vietnam War drastically changed the views of those who were still at home in the United States. The result? Mass protest.

In 1968 the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders was to determine the cause for the recent riots. What they found was an unjust media that was producing insufficient coverage of African Americans.

Today the U.S. media is notorious for covering and reporting for one audience. Minorities lack presence in news rooms across the country. News coverage cannot be improved to the level of excellence that is necessary without diverse news rooms. The Washington Post states that newsroom diversity is imperative to journalism.

Wesley Lowery, who's Twitter description reads, "seek truth :: give voice to the voiceless :: shine light in the darkness :: other considerations are of minor importance,"currently writes for the Washington Post. He has closely followed both the violence and riots for the past year.






Despite his efforts, a 2014 study of the American Press Institution determined that 25 percent of African Americans believe that the media accurately portrays their communities. The same study concluded that only 33 percent of Hispanics could claim media accuracy concerning their communities. If more than half of  prominent minorities, and a sobering 75 percent of African Americans do not trust the media, they are probably not watching it. If 75 percent of white Americans did not trust the media, there would be a change in coverage.

Today's coverage of police violence is not the clear cut coverage that we received during Vietnam. Yet riots have moved through the country like wildfire since the death of Michael Brown in 2014. The violence is not new- who's covering it is.

Social media is becoming more and more prevalent with time. More and more people have cell phones. Citizen journalism is on the rise. If the media will not accurately cover or acknowledge police violence, the people will.

Deray Mckesson, an African American civil rights activist, has been following (literally and figuratively) and covering the violence and stories since the summer of 2014. Mckesson, most recognizable by his signature blue vest, aids the Black Lives Matter movement by organizing and covering protests, engaging in research and sharing his findings. He live tweets often and retweets the stories and feelings of those who are affected. These people are often the minorities that are not seen prominently in mainstream media news rooms. He remains unafraid in calling out comments and coverage that he does not believe to be correct. Mckesson is producing news using social media as a platform.





Citizens should not have to beg journalists to "tell the truth". A lack of diversity in journalism means a narrowed set of views covering breaking events. When entire groups of people are left out of coverage, journalism has a detrimental problem.


If It Bleeds, It Leads

Abbey Knupp
ak770213@ohio.edu

While it is not found in any code of ethics, the creed, “If it bleeds, it leads” has stuck in the back of journalists’ minds for decades. The public’s desire for crime stories and coverage of other intense events has given crime and carnage a prevalent spot in most major publications.

Though it is important for crime stories to be covered so the public can be aware of robberies, murders, car crashes, and other events, the demand has also led to sensationalism and issues of safety, both for the reporter chasing the story and for the subjects involved.

Photo courtesy of Indiewire
Nightcrawler, a 2014 film written and directed by Dan Gilroy, touches on the topic of how reporters venture into the realm of sensationalism while try to find bleeding, leading stories. In the film, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, a jobless man who starts chasing crime in order to capture video to sell to news stations.

Bloom breaches the ethical boundaries of journalism. He starts arriving at crime scenes and crash sites before the police, moving bodies, and disturbing evidence in order to get better pictures and video, which he sells to the local news station.

In the film, it is clear that Bloom’s meddling with the crime scenes and the insertion of himself into unauthorized places crosses ethical boundaries. For real-life crime reporters, however, the line is not so clear.

As Dylan Byers and Hadas Gold suggest in their article Ferguson media get into the story, it is sometimes impossible for journalists to separate themselves from the unfolding events. Many journalists covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown in August of 2014 were stuck in the thicket of the unfolding events, unintentionally becoming a part of the story.

Some of the journalists were hit with teargas thrown by the police and others, like Wesley Lowery, from The Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly, from The Huffington Post, were arrested. The fast pace of the unfolding events and the demand for quick, constant updates fostered a live-tweeting culture from journalists, where facts and information were spit out just as quickly as they were obtained.

The screening process is either thin or nonexistent for tweets. Information is received, processed, and recited to the public in a quick 140 characters or less. In the heat of the moment, reporters aren’t thinking about what is ethical or unethical to share, they are simply stating all of the facts that they can gather.

Despite the fact that they are not fabricating scenes like Gyllenhaal’s character in Nightcrawler, the relentless onslaught of unfiltered information can be just as detrimental as stretching the truth.


Like Malcom Harris stated in his article for Aljazeera America, tweeting the locations and pictures of people directly involved in the action can give information to police officers and opposing groups, which can influence and change the situation. In some ways, that can create more news in a way very similar to the way that Gyllenhaal’s character stretched the truth in Nightcrawler

Despite the fact that the ethical breach is not as extreme as that depicted in the film, crime reporters have a duty to make sure that they are not spreading bleeding content just to make sure they lead. While journalists have a duty to provide the public with accurate, prevalent information, they also have a duty to the subjects of the story and themselves to put safety ahead of the desire to be on the front page.


Celebrities, Social Media, and Diversity in Journalism

By: Maggie Lilac 
ml185112@ohio.edu

The tension surrounding diversity and race in the media and journalism is not a new problem. Journalists have and will always be put in tough situations that deal with different race, culture and ethnicity's, we have to consider the best and most ethical way to handle it. 

With the recent situations like the court cases and riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, social media played a huge role in how youth culture felt and related to the rulings. CNN and other news outlets who used social media and "live tweeted" during the riots could not avoid the constant #blacklivesmatter movement; rather the nation couldn't avoid it. 

The Black Lives Matter movement was started to promote the idea that police officers across the nation don't care about black lives as much as they care about white lives due to the multiple recent shooting and killing of when seem to be innocent blacks. While the movement started out as a hash tag, it has grown into a full fledged campaign including a website and Twitter. 

With hash tags and campaigns like "black lives matter", "hands up don't shoot" and "I can't breathe", particularly African American youths were using twitter as an outlet for their frustrations. Many news anchors and reporters followed the hash tags closely and read tweets live on air.  During the riots, many celebrities chimed in their thoughts about what was taking place. 

Black and white celebrities used their fame to express their thoughts on many social media outlets. Celebs like Kobe Bryant who tweeted "The system enables young black men to be killed behind the mask of the law #Ferguson #tippingpoint #change", Macklemore tweeted "The system that instills & protects white supremacy wins again. Humanity loses...No justice. I pray for Mike Brown & his family. So sad," and even BeyoncĂ© herself posted this picture to her Instagram:


A listicle in Cosmopolitan Magazine describes the misconceptions of the Black Lives Matter movement. In one quote, the author talks about the idea of new protest music. "A new generation of protest music has come forth with songs from Janelle Monae, Prince, J. Cole, Lauryn Hill, and Rick Ross. The first national convening in July drew over 1,000 participants. There is a new consciousness and a new spirit seeing justice, and the participants carrying the torch show no signs of slowing down."

Janelle Monae is very vocal about her views and beliefs on the Black Lives Matter movement. She recently performed on the Today show and when she finished her performance, decided to enlighten the crowd. "God bless America. God bless all who've lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know that we stand tall today. We will not be silenced." As she was speaking the camera slowly panned away and screened over the crowd. 

Social media has become one of the largest platforms for celebrities to connect with their fans, not to mention one of the easiest. With people like Janelle Monae having 649.5 thousand followers on twitter and BeyoncĂ© having 46.7 million on Instagram, they have a huge influence on not just the people, including youths, that follow them but also the media. Outlets like E! News report on things celebrities have tweeted and when things get political, they can also get heated. In such a short amount of time celebrities have gone from pop culture figures to political influences and we have social media to thank for it. 

The Blurred Lines of Professional Journalism and Citizen Journalism

By Mira Kuhar
mk221811@ohio.edu

photo via Chicago Now

It’s no lie that the incidents in Ferguson circling the death of Michael Brown last year were a big event in the history of journalism and news reporting. Because of the violent and serious nature of these events, the lines between protesters, bystanders and professional journalists became inevitably blurred. Pictures and video were taken, social media posts were sent and arrests were made. It was hard for the police to tell who was who in this situation – but what does that mean for the future of journalism?

The riots and protests in Ferguson are a prime example of how technology has evolved to where anyone can become a journalist or reporter. This idea, known as “citizen journalism,” was a huge part of why the Ferguson events blew up on social media, and why these lines are blurring. Sarah Jackson, an assistant professor communication studies at Northeastern, weighs in on this topic in a post on the University’s website. She explains that citizen journalists are pushing mainstream journalists to cover the events that they’re “reporting” on, many of them dealing with social issues that raise a lot of discussion. This is why the events of Ferguson blew up on social media. It also explains why many of the journalists went beyond their duties, tried get into the heart of the action and ended up in handcuffs.

Arresting these journalists was part of a crackdown on the press during this event – but really, who could be considered as “the press?” If bystanders and average citizens are able to post and update the world with what’s happening at an event such as this one, how do you justify arresting professional journalists? Shouldn’t they be put in the same sphere as those with cameras on their smartphones? With that logic, there should have been many more citizen arrests.

It can be argued that reporters and journalists work for accredited companies, so with their presence comes a greater liability. However, it is becoming increasingly popular for journalists to reference citizen social media posts in their work, and even discovering newsworthy information through viral posts. According to Journalist’s Resource and a study conducted by Jayeon Lee in Lehigh University’s Department of Journalism and Communication, for credibility reasons, journalists need to watch what they promote and where they get their facts. Lee states, “News organizations should be aware that journalists’ social media activity can affect not only the professional reputation of the journalists but also that of their news products.” Working for these accredited companies increased the liability of covering something that may be incorrect or controversial.


The events of Ferguson have created an outcome that will continue to be studied and used to guide the actions in future events of the same nature. There is much uncertainty of what could potentially happen in these situations because of social media and citizen journalism. However, mainstream journalists and news outlets can look at what happened here and decide what their course of action would be should this happen again.