Sunday, September 13, 2015

To Cheat or Not to Cheat

Amanda Poll

The word cheat, is to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination. This is the definition for cheat that pops up on Google. For this blog, the name of the game is journalism, or in the bigger scheme of things, our culture. The culture war between the young and the old is happening right before our eyes, which March Fisher addresses in his article, Who cares if it's true? Honesty, integrity and respect are fighting for their lives against speed and sensationalism. Will a treaty ever be reached or will we continue to cheat?
Confronting the Culture, an article written by Lori Robertson, called out the journalism industry and our culture as a whole. Robertson wrote about Bill Kovach, founding chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and his thoughts on the industry running out of excuses. Kovach says, "whoever's in charge of the newsroom is going to have to create a culture and an atmosphere within which everybody knows this is not acceptable. You can't cheat and stay here."  Journalism is fighting itself. Codes of ethics and higher standards that are supposed to be the beacon of light in newsrooms are not exactly shining. Instead, journalists are faced with pressure higher than most American's blood. The going gets tough when you are expected to produce more in a short amount of time. One forgets the meaning of integrity and honesty when trying to reach a 24-hour deadline. One forgets a lot of things if success and money are on the line too. America values money, and a lot of it.

BuzzFeed is a great example of a success. "It's a big, profitable, influential new organization," says Marc Fisher. The latest trends, lists and quizzes attract everyone. I found out that I am more of a Lizzie than a Miranda from BuzzFeed's Which Lizzie McGuire Character Are You? BuzzFeed is most known as the place on the Internet to take fun, quirky quizzes, but the organization is reporting on hard-hitting news now too. This also means BuzzFeed is trying to build their reputation as a credible source of news. The most untraditional organization is introducing old-school tactics. BuzzFeed hired copy editors, which is unusual for a savvy, digital news outlet. They are reverting back to the truth. They are taking time to make sure their information is correct instead of fixing it later. Hundreds of thousands of dollars is going towards the development of software that determines if viral videos are real. This is a minor step in making sure what is true and what is not. Who is cheating and who is not? Which news outlets are taking the time to verify their stories and videos and who is not. It all goes back to doing things the correct way with integrity and truth in mind versus taking the easy way out. To be real or  fake, like KFC partnering with Susan G. Komen Breast Caner Foundation in order to look good. KFC also attempted to come off as somewhat healthy too.  For example, that would be me, someone who will always love Taco Bell, trying to say Taco Bell is healthy. Taco Bell is not healthy. I love Taco Bell but I am not going to try and convince people that it is something when it is not.

The quote from the Greeks from, Confronting the Culture, "one learns to be a good person from other good people," exemplifies what I believe in. I believe to lead by example. The journalism industry will begin to see change by those who lead. It is not easy to break social norms but hopefully someone will attempt to make a difference, a difference in journalism and in our culture.

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