Friday, November 20, 2015

The New Journalism

Diana Taggart,

Our topic this week was the fading of journalistic ethics and the rise of get the news out whether it is true or not – just get it out there. This practice has led to many false reports of news and even more poorly written articles than ever before. The Internet has taken the blame for this…that and the fact that anyone with an Internet connection can post any story that they wish.

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Today even professional journalists seem to blur the line of fact and opinion. With the onset of the Internet and the instantaneous deadlines of news, facts are often not checked, grammar and spelling are not edited and even teens can re-tweet or post anything. 

Some do so after only reading the headline, which can have nothing at all in common with the story it heads. Some of these stories or articles do eventually get updated or corrected, but who goes back to read something twice just to see if there have been any changes? 

As Anthony De Rosa said in his Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times: “…the onus is on readers to return to an article for any updates or correction.” and that is just not going to happen. Once you’ve read a story, don’t you feel that you are through with it? Why would you go back to it unless you were notified of changes? I really liked Anthony De Rosa’s suggestion of a “track changes” button near the top of a page to let you know you are not reading the original breaking news story.

Another of our readings this week that really caught my interest was the “Journalism ethics in a digital age” by Kira Goldenberg. Kira was reporting on a conference she had attended and some of her comments were rather thought-provoking. Kira reported, “To that end, discussions ranged from the shortcomings of “most-read” algorithms to the Western bias inherent in the very idea that journalism as a whole needs lofty unifying ethics.” I thought: Is the idea that journalism needs ethics a Western bias? Are there not ethics in British journalism? Or maybe in French, Chinese, Japanese, and so on? This was classified in my mind as “things that make you go hmmmm” and will be revisited as I continue my studies.

I enjoyed the discussion in Difficult questions for digital media ethics on what exactly is journalism and who we name journalists. It is a difficult question with the Internet making anyone who wants to be a journalist, a journalist. As is usual in the 21st century, the old norms are passing away and the new ones are frontiers to be crossed.

I am certain we will be making up the rules as we go along, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s hold on to the best of what journalism is, let go of what is not so great, and put our heads together to come up with some new ideas on how to best serve the public – who, in this case, is us.


  1. My blog was very similar to this in the sense of how information is shared on social media and how much of it is outdated, which can make the context of the story inaccurate. I agree things have to change about the way journalists publish information and also how the public shares it across social media.

    -Jillian Kata

  2. This is quite a sad trend. Once a long time ago people could read a story and know that it was the truth, now it can be hard to tell what is what in this day and age. Hopefully those who are looking for stories will come to their senses and create some honest tales.
    Robert Vollman