Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Core Remains

Jasmine Lambert

Change is constant in our growing society. Our Constitution has been edited and altered to reflect society's needs and wants as it progresses. Technology has advanced tremendously in such a short period of time and everyday people's minds change and transform as they experience life.

But even with the changes, our Constitution remains the supreme law of the land and technology, no matter how advanced, is used by almost everyone. The same is true for the ethics of journalism. Some things change but the core remains the same.

Journalism seems like it has its own "Constitution" but instead the rules are called the Guiding Principles and just like the real Constitution, the principles have changed over time to meet the needs of a changing society.

The only principle that has remained written over time is the desire for journalists to seek the truth and report it. I think that most people who watch or read the news would agree that reporting the truth is the real job of a journalist. The other two original principles, independence and minimization of harm, are still unspoken ethical values but no longer need to be "law."

Instead they were replaced by the principles of transparency and community. I want to be a journalist and I, along with most of the public, even feel that journalists cannot be trusted. By adding transparency as principle, it requires the reporters of our news to provide sources and be accountable for the information they feed us.

Transparency goes hand in hand with trust. It is the idea of being able to believe for yourself what you are being told. If you're like me, then you have to fact check and read everything before you wholeheartedly believe something. I am terrible at "taking your word for it." When it comes to news, many people expect that the information they are receiving is accurate so it is a journalist's responsibility to provide accurate sources for the public.

As of late, it blows my mind that murder, especially gun violence, has become so rampant no matter what the race or age but most common amongst black people. It is easy to watch the news and see what the media wants to tell us about certain situations but it brings me comfort that most, not all, but most journalists provide sources for their information and try their best to report the news without offending the families and friends of the lives lost.

Photo: dailymail.co.uk
Community engagement relates with how to properly portray a news story, such as a highly publicized shooting, without offending but also providing all the accurate information to the people that need it. If done with class and ethical awareness, then the public receives the news without complaint and the journalist, along with the network, does not receive backlash for being inconsiderate.

Everyone uses media, no matter what form, as a way to keep up with the news and people do not want to be mislead or offended at the grocery store while walking past the magazine stand, or while scrolling down their twitter feed, or while watching the six o'clock news at the dinner table. Truth, transparency, and community are essential to providing accurate news.

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