Monday, September 21, 2015

Price You Have to Pay

Erica Westley

As a journalist it is important to look at every perspective of a situation and ensure that you put into account the consequences that may come with the decisions you make. One of the responsibilities that come with working in the profession, is how sticking to the rules is vital to your career.  In both of the readings it shows how straying from or bending the rules, causes major problems for journalist and media outlets.  It is important to not get so overwhelmed of the pressure to make deadline or “getting the perfect story”, it leads to bending the rules.

It is a true statement that bending the rules, technically, is not disregarding them. Being known as the watchdogs for everyone brings great responsibility and it’s important the news being shared with the public is the most honest, truthful and translucent news possible.

In Chittums, “Checkbook Journalism’s Slippery Slope” it discusses how unethical and unacceptable it is to pay potential sources to give credibility to a story.  Many believe that paying for stories creates skewed intelligence to the reporter because they are getting compensation.  Although in the past paying sources was something very unheard about, should it be more acceptable as we enter a new age? McBride’s “When It’s O.K. to Pay for a Story” discuses how we should evaluate situations where sources were paid and when these circumstances are okay.

Paying a source is just as important as the source funding the media outlet as well. We learn this through Potter’s “Maybe It’s Not So Obvious” and the situation with a news’s series being funded with “dirty money”. This situation shows how much control that wanting to follow through with a story, segment, etc. can lead to straying to choices that would cause more controversy.

In both instances, it was said that the actions presented could be seen as wrong and unethical. We also must understand, it is not just the journalist that are new that are involved in situations like these. This leaves the question, why did they do it? It benefited them and they’re human.  I think sometimes people hold journalist to such high expectations when something bad does happen they forget they are just humans. Humans that sometimes fold under intense pressure and make bad decisions. In both situations both parties benefited by paying for their sources or getting funded by a source that was publicly frowned upon. At the same time it is important to be aware the responsibility being a journalist comes with. I think in order to be the best journalist you need to realize this and ensure that you can be as ethically right as possible.

In conclusion, although there a times people believe paying for sources can be justified, truthful and morally correct. These rare cases often just leave the best decision, right now, for journalist is too not let the stress of generating a story lead to paying for sources.

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