Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Don't Forget About The Ethics

Edie Lotus

Today, going digital isn't just a form of personal expression. We see our society accepting social media as a way to stay connected with more than just your friends and family but with businesses, celebrities, news, and even strangers.

In this digital age, a persons' feed can go from being a post from a credible news channel to a post from a untraceable parody account. It's almost as if there's very little distinction when scrolling quickly, and today everyone can share news and their opinions. However, that doesn't mean everyone can be a journalist nor does it mean journalists can act like everyone else when it comes to social media.

Almost everyone is creating their own digital footprint... From SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on... On a daily basis we are consuming so much information that as consumers we cannot forget that not everything we see is credible or truthful and since anyone can be on the internet these day's, more importantly, as journalists we must not forget our duties.

Although you would think that the news being truthful and credible should be a given with news/journalist posts... With how quickly a Tweet or Blog can be posted, it's important that journalists remember the ethical values be applied just as heavily when using digital as it would be when publishing in print. Even though how we construct print news v.s. digital news can be very different, the promise of truth and credibility should be applicable to both.

After reading New Ethics of Journalism for 21st Century, before forming a solid opinion of my own I went to the internet to research more about how digital is impacting the way we do journalism.

In How Tragedy Strikes When Journalism and Social Media Lack Ethics and Humanity an article posted in the Ethical Journalism Network brought up some other vital points to mind when thinking about digital journalism. EJN gave a shocking example of how dangerous forgetting ones ethical duties can be, especially if you're made the criminal. In this piece, a student wrongly accused of being the Boston Marathon Bomber truly shows how quickly digital ethics abandoned can be threatening. I was shocked while reading this piece as I'm sure most individuals would be when trying to imagine swapping places with student Sunil Tripathi.

Tripathi's story is just one example of what happens when we forget that ethical duties should be just as applicable digitally as they are anywhere else. As an aspiring PR professional, I think there is so much good that can come from being present online. However, it's important that we don't forget the damage that can be done when we become careless with our presence as well.

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