Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Importance of Ethics in Journalism

Brooke Kobasher

I feel ethics is something that should be taken seriously in a journalism career, or in any career in that matter. Especially in today's society, I feel as though it's much easier to "tweak" anything around. With today's technology it seems as though anything goes, which makes it much easier to create myths or gossip. Ethics is something that we should stay true to so we don't run into any conflict. Most importantly, I feel as though we should take the following into consideration, especially as journalists.

The Truth 

As mentioned in the SPJ Code of Ethics, we should actually go out and seek the truth before anything is reported. We need to take responsible action, such as listing sources when needed, and also correct anything if needed before publishing or broadcasting on what's being mentioned. We also want to minimize harm and show compassion for anyone that may be affected by the news story. By not seeking the truth with those mentioned into consideration, permanent damage can be done. Private people have a right to protect themselves more than public figures or those that seek attention. Regardless, I feel as though we should take any news story and the consequences into consideration before coming out to the public.

Five Principles of Journalism

According to the Ethical Journalism Network, there are five principles of journalism.

Truth and accuracy. Journalists may not always be able to get the actual truth, however, we should still strive for accuracy. At the very least, we should be able to get the facts straight before being published or broadcast.

Independence. Journalists should always have their own independent voices. We should not act regardless of the story that's mentioned. We should declare to the editors or audience that may create a conflict.

Fairness and Impartiality. There are usually two sides to every story. Whichever side you choose, be sure that the story is being balanced out.

Humanity. As mentioned before, as journalists we should not cause any harm. Although some stories mentioned may be hurtful, one should still be aware of the words and images that are being used on the lives of others.

Accountability. One of the greatest responsibilities as journalists is to hold yourself accountable. Always correct any mistakes and be sincere about it, since our audience is very important.

So, is Ethics Important?

While taking all of this into consideration, we should also keep in mind that our ethical values should help guide us in every step in our career. I think of it as a foundation of our careers, especially as journalists, since we are working with all kinds of people of different backgrounds and cultures. If we stay true to our ethical values, we may still face some obstacles throughout our careers, however, I think it will run more seamlessly and with ease. Some people may see these codes saying they are "too much", however, we don't necessarily have to follow them to the T. I personally view them as ideas or a guide so we can create our own personal codes of ethics for our everyday lives.


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