Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Are We Forgetting Our Journalistic Ethical Values When It Comes to Online Media?

Nicole Mahdavi

As technology progresses we are discovering new ways to consume our news and access media outlets. Now a days, most if not every newspaper and broadcasting companies are creating websites as another outlet to reach wider audiences due to the increase usage of the internet. According to a 2014 article by American Press Institute, the internet is the second most popular place for Americans to go and get their news falling right behind television. The article also states that, "nearly half of Americans with internet access have signed up for news alerts" (American Press Institute 2014). 

Source- American Press Institute 

So what exactly is the big ethical dilemma surrounding online media?

Many are arguing that due to the nature of the internet and its power to deliver news fast, is resulting in sloppy journalism, since journalists are able to go back later and edit or add content to previous stories that have already been read and published. In an article published by the La Times titled, "A Rule For Online News: Errors are Inevitable; Lack of Transparency is Not" it states that, "...the onus is on readers to return to an article for any updates or corrections. Anyone who doesn't check back may blithely share false information on social media" (LA Times 2015). 

Due to the amount of competition from other media outlets, many news organizations are in a hurry to be the first one to report on breaking news even if that means not providing readers with confirmed accurate information. This as a result is what leads to the publishing of articles that end up being edited multiple times to correct facts that have already been read and presumably deemed true by readers.

As a result of the occasionally false facts that pop up in some news articles, many are starting to lose their trusts in journalists. According to an article titled, "Fundamental Values," published by the The State Of the News Media, "The focus is more on getting the news out before checking its accuracy, and this is weakening journalism's credibility.." 

Although it is nearly impossible to one hundred percent of the time report entirely true information, many believe it is the news media outlet's job to find an alternative way to alert their readers on edits made to previously published articles. This could be one solution in helping gain back the trust of readers, another would be to simply make sure facts are being checked and stories are being properly copy edited by editors before being published.




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