Tuesday, September 8, 2015

News Is Not For the Journalist

Emily Koudelka

News has been present for centuries.  It has adapted itself in many forms, yet one thing has always remained constant.  News belongs to the people, not the journalists.  For centuries, news connects communities and societies across the world. Truths of this can be traced all the way back to the ancient Athen's agoras, or market places in which citizens would gather to shop and exchange the latest word and knowledge.  So to say that journalists dictate, control, and possess the news would be the definition wrong.

As the sharing of knowledge, we so define as "news," moves into the 21st century, this idea of journalism belonging to the public has reared its head even more.  In today's day and age, every person in possession of any form of social media is a journalist. As a matter of a fact, in court cases involving a blog such as one from New Jersey making its way all the way to Supreme Court, declares bloggers as journalists. The second any sort of event happens, it is tweeted, shared, liked, "gram-ed," and many other fun, catchy phrases that emphasize its just a click a way presence to millions of waiting readers.  With this change, the way journalists view and use ethics must change as well. No longer are the days of, if you chose to censor something the public will not see it. Instead just because you choose not to air something does not mean that two seconds later the whole word sees it.  As the reading states, "ethics is no longer just the concern of professionals."

While, social media in a way does take some of the ethical decisions out of the control of the professionals, does not mean that professionals do not need to know how to hone in ethics when it comes to social media.  This article by David Vinjamuri highlights the "5 Deadly Sins" of ethics and social media when it comes to the world of public relations.  He highlights grey areas such as improper anonymity, or when companies comment on forums open to the public to either praise a product or condemn a competitor, but do not reveal their true identity.  Further more, he discusses overly enthusiastic employees, which circles back to the topic before of everyone being a journalist in today's day and age.

The one concept that binds all of this together is transparency.  It is the principle that lies within the very nature of human.  Within each of us, whether professional or not, lies a sensor that goes off when we feel as though something is not quite right.  It is what tells us that a news broadcast is not giving us the full story or a tweet that is going viral probably is a spoof.  Transparency for professionals or anyone "producing news" (basically anyone with a social media account) remains key in the ethical decision making.  Just because ethics no longer just concerns the professionals anymore does not mean that it is not the duty of professionals to stay true to ethical codes in all forms even social media.

No comments:

Post a Comment