The 21st century, or more specifically, the last six years or so, has changed the way the world has viewed the world of media and journalism in general. With social media and online journalism becoming the new norm, journalists have had to adapt to these changes. This is necessary in order for them to keep their credibility and to get their message across as truthfully as possible.
The Poynter Institute developed a set of ethics for journalists to follow in the 1990's called the Guiding Principles for Journalists. The main focuses of these principles were for a journalist to write in a way that was truthful, independent, and didn't bring harm to anyone written about. Since the popularity of online journalism, these principles have shifted to better suit this change.
The principles haven't changed much for the most part. The first and the second set of principles both include trust as their number one rule for journalists to follow. This hasn't changed because journalists should always make telling the truth their top priority. What's the point of reporting the news or certain things happening in the world if what you are saying isn't the truth? Also, if your audience finds out your work is false, then they won't continue to read you for fear of being lied to again.
The second principle on the lists is where they differ. Independence has changed to transparency. Transparency is having the reader decide if they want to believe what is written and how it is written or not to believe it. In this day in age, especially with everything being online, it's hard to determine if an article being written is true or if it's exaggerated in any way. Also, it's sometimes difficult to determine if the source or the author themselves are legitimate and trustworthy.
Writing to the audience that you know is going to read your writing is so important. If you know you have a certain group of people that consistently read your work, then, as a writer, you should want to continue to provide content that pleases them. Yes, it is good to expand and try to broaden your audience, but it is just as important to keep in the front of your mind the people who have always valued what you've written.
The Future of Journalism
As journalists, it's so important that we try to put out the best content for our readers that they can trust and rely. Social media is only becoming more popular each day, so who knows where online journalism will be five years from now. But, it is important for a journalist to continue following these ethical principles to keep their readership and their credibility, as well. Having this will help us journalists have a longer career because we will have provided our readers with content that they know they can count on and trust. And when things in the journalism world change, then we can adapt again.