Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ethics In The 21st Century

Natalie Townsend

Poynter created a code of ethics 20 years ago for journalists to follow, but with the emergence of the digital age, the code has adapted to the change in new media. We haven't forgotten the old ways, but rather tweaked them to better accommodate the modern age of technology.

The Old Ways vs. The New Ways

The original code of ethics was to seek the truth, act independently, and minimize harm. All of which are still true and expected of any journalist, but have been embedded into the new code.

Seek the truth, be transparent, and engage the community as an ends rather than a means. These are the current values to which journalists seek to achieve.

"Seeking the truth" has still remained the core value of any credible journalist, but there are new ways to get the truth and sometimes journalists struggle to recognize it. Especially with social media comes many false things on the internet. This means journalists have to work harder to seek accuracy and truth.

To be transparent, journalists need to be more vigorous with their research and be held accountable for mistakes. Journalists should still be independent; however, they do need to be more cautious and articulated with their work. By being transparent, we need to prove to our readers why we are credible and why the information we are putting out matters and ultimately receive our communities trust. Whether it be through the use of images, social media, podcasts, and blogs, we have an obligation to provide our readers with accurate information that they can count on.

Minimizing harm is of course still important, but falls under this idea of engaging the community. We have to make the community the ends and not the means, according to contributor Mónica Guzmán. New media allows for citizens to get more engaged and informed with whatever they are interested in. Having the community engaged also helps you as a journalist get feedback and ideas.

The Future of Journalism

Journalism has evolved immensely since the early forms of news and could easily change even more over the next couple of years. While truth will always remain the most critical factor in reporting, journalists have to be able to adapt to all these changes and provide accurate, transparent, and engaging content.

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