How many times have you been waiting in line at Kroger and see a magazine with an absurd quote and picture of a celebrity? Usually it's something like "Kanye West admits he is Jesus" or "Harambe really isn't dead." More often times than not, you come across these print or digital magazines and question "who approved this? I mean really." At times, it can be contrary to popular belief, but editors and publishers do report to a code of ethics before hitting "submit."
As a journalist, your readers have the power to make you a successful, trustworthy reporter or a liar who can never tell the truth. In journalism, trust is the hardest thing to build but can take one mistake for that trust to be broken.
Journalists can fall under a multitude of stereotypes, most of the time we are considered liars, cheaters or that we can't spell correctly. The American Society of Magazine Editors holds journalists accountable before they hit submit, before they put out the information for people to read.
Many times people tell me "journalism is a dying industry. magazine writing is a dying subject. journalism will soon be extinct." When in fact, journalism is simply evolving into something new.
With this day and age, journalism is available at the click of an app. By the time a magazine releases information, it can be considered old news. This is something we have to use to our advantage by using social media.
The Importance of Code Enforcement
The most potent part of our job is supplying the everyday consumer with information. Rather it's facts about a world issue, an interview for TIME Magazine, or how to cook a meal in 20 minutes; there is a topic for every consumer out there.
We are journalists, we are allowed to express the freedom of the
First Amendment. That's exactly what ASME is here to do. Help allow us to have that privilege, support the development of journalist, and help continue to provide accurate information to our readers.
Without different codes and ethics for journalists, we would not successfully be able to do our job. Over course, we can get over overzealous when we release our stories, but it's easy to get carried away when you have a passion for writing.
Are codes enforced? I think that is possibly the hardest question to answer. Some would say yes, they are, and others would arguably say no.
Readers want the fastest, easiest content. When something happens, we look to social media to see who has the latest news. Perhaps codes aren't enforced as much because the world is spinning at such a high demand.
A few weeks ago, the Dallas Police Department sent out a tweet asking for the public to help find the suspected shooter. Someone sent the tweet before having the accurate information; it was the wrong suspect. This is a perfect example on why following a code of ethics and taking a step back to realize what you're releasing to the consumer.
It is up to us, new, young journalists, to enforce these ethics. To keep the integrity and morality of our job. Journalism will always evolve as the world evolves. This is simply a challenge for us to fight back against the stereotypes and be the most genuine we can be.