Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is Media Just for Entertainment?

Michael Galloway

Ethics are theory. Journalists have a lot on their plates including daily deadlines, breaking stories, employers and many more. Unfortunately, with all these pressures, things tend to be cut out. The easiest to cut, unfortunately, is our ethics-- which is a very unfortunate part of the profession, but in today’s society, it is not seen as uncommon.

When someone thinks of journalism, often more times than not, the word ethics does not come to mind. In fact, unethical probably is a more frequently heard answer. But why is this? Why do journalists have a reputation of being unethical?

Like I stated before, it is easy, right? That is where the phrase, “in theory,” comes in to play. Ethics, are morals, morals are a code of right and wrong. So just do what’s right, right? Wrong. Unfortunately journalists have had tendencies to cut corners, or make their stories more entertaining, especially in this ever-changing media environment.

With new advancements, such as Facebook Live, every average person is a journalist. Anyone with a Twitter account can now be a journalist, and with Facebook Live, you can live stream a story quicker than a news station can. So how does the media today get a chance to compete with that? To be more interesting than your friends, it is a constant struggle for your attention.

One way that media organizations are attempting to solve this problem is by adapting a more conversational vocabulary, and attempting to be more entertaining, such as sites like Buzz Feed. Another prominent media source that attempted this was Gawker media. Gawker was a blog-like site where the organization posted entertainment pieces.

In an interview CEO, Nick Deaton, discussed how his company presents news. He addresses the idea of conversational tones in stories and that he wants to present the argument for the readers. This comes into the realm of being biased and telling readers what they are supposed to feel about this issue. As a reporter it is expected to be unbiased and strictly present the facts.  Another ethical issue that Gawker has faced is deciding as to what is news worthy.

In the past year Gawker has faced a lawsuit against Hulk Hogan, in regards to Gawker posting Hogan’s sex tape on their site. The site lost the lawsuit being told that their story was an invasion of privacy and exploited Hogan. The lawsuit has thus put Gawker out of business. As can be seen in the video below.

These are unfortunately not uncommon issues in today’s media. The idea of ethics is not taken as seriously as one would hope it would. Ethical media is something that is hard to come by these days, unfortunately. From political to bias, to exploitation of sources, there are a lot of ethics issues due to a dying, big-company media world. The constant struggle for viewers'  attention is a large contributor of an emerging community of unethical journalism. Where will the media head next? Will ethics stay prominent in the journalistic world?

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