Sunday, November 8, 2015

Embedded Media and Exaggeration

Jeanne Cantwell

This entire class revolves around the ethics of journalism. There are many things to consider when reporting. When it comes to reporting in times of war there are even more things to consider.  Deciding that I wanted to study journalism in college I always knew that I wanted a career in the entertainment field. I remember jokingly telling my parents that, "I don't want to cover any wars, but I will report on any movies they make about a war." After recently declaring my specialization as a split between marketing and media, I still find that statement to have some truth to it.

I have never envied those who chose to report on the front lines. That isn't to say that I find it incredibly impressive and anyone who is fighting for our country or reporting in a war-torn area has a tremendous amount of bravery. I've just always known that I would never be able to go that route. When I think of journalism related to war, Brian Williams comes to mind. One of NBC News household names had exaggerated details about coming under fire in a US Army helicopter during the Iraq war.  I remember thinking how many more journalists could fall into this category of embellishing a story? Williams hadn't been the first and he won't be the last. There is a fine line between exaggerating something and telling a completely lie; to be fair the two usually go hand in hand.

Photo courtesy of
Embedded journalism is a whole different field. When it comes to being a reporter there is a certain set of ethics you are required to uphold. As an embedded journalist there is even more added to that list. Is there a way to be neutral when it comes to this type of journalism? Is it possible to report the facts without being bias? What I found most interesting about the article The Uneasy Media-Military Relationship  was the part explaining "the standard protocol between journalists and the military not to release any information regarding those killed in action until family members had been properly notified by the Department of Defense." As a journalist you want to get the most accurate information to the people as soon as possible. Once you have that number and it's been confirmed you want to share that information. Although out of respect for the family, you don't want the article you wrote to be the way they find out that their loved one has passed. There are so many things to consider as a journalist, but the one that always seems to be at the top of my list is to always report the truth. As long as you do that in an ethical and respectful manner it is your job to report the the truth to the people who otherwise can't gather the information on their own.

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