Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Public’s Unbiased Voice

Alexandria Keller

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.


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