Monday, September 5, 2016

Truth: Too expensive?

Neely Khan

You can choose what to believe. Surrounded by stories, a journalist isn't just looking at one side, they have to look at all sides, including their own. Ethics codes, such as in the NPPA, SPJ, RTNA, ONA and ASME, say a journalist shall not be involved personally and should remain objective in their work. At least that's what's said in their codes of ethics. But do you believe that? Is there such a thing as truth?

We are the media, and the media cares about the peoples' wants. Does that always mean truthful, untainted work? The way I see it, it's all about money. Maybe that's overly cynical. I'd like to believe that all journalists do transparent work, but I know that's not always going to happen. Our industry is so competitive, always trying to get the most viewers, the most readers, the most social media buzz. To thrive is to make money, and making money could mean different things to different journalists. That doesn't mean I agree with it, but that I see media for what it is.

Consumption - Code of Ethics obsolete? 
Magazine journalism is an example of obsolete codes of ethics. In ASME's code, it is stated that an editorial-like ad must be labeled as such, and that editorial work must be separate from advertisements. They do follow through with that in some magazines, but have you seen People or OK magazine? If you open Vogue or Cosmopolitan, it's hard to distinguish what is an ad and what is an editorial. 

Sometimes, when I read magazines, I feel as though an article was written for the purpose of making money. Is that just limited to magazines? No, of course not. It's pretty scary knowing that "real" journalistic work could be the spawn of an advertisement or conflict of interest. We don't know the journalist behind the work, we don't know what their personal life is like, the desperation of the success or the curiosity that drives them. We don't know what that journalist had to do to get that story published. 

That's why I have trouble believing what I read. It can be anywhere, Facebook, CNN, or even Snapchat. Information is being spread at lightning speed, and we have an audience that is consumed by it, and because of knowing that, I understand that the code of ethics has been lacking lately. Our media is digital now, and our audience wants their news and wants it now, and they also want to be interested and awed. Entertained. So it all becomes one big contest for who can get the most reads/views.
"Because of the volume of free material, the scarcity of money and the pressure to differentiate a product, the border for editors and producers between journalism and advertising is now a regularly negotiated and often contested space."

I liked this comic because it has different funny aspects about it. One is the obvious, the journalist, who has an emphasis in celebrity gossip, sounds just like what a modern day journalist has to be. They have to be up to date with all social media and what's going on in popular culture because that's where the money is. And the second part that's interesting about this is that the editor looks silly, like it's mocking what a newpaper looks like now instead of the professionalism of what it should be or used to be. Journalism has changed not just because of the platform, but because of the people. It's always been about serving the people with free speech and integrity, but in reality, maybe what people want isn't the truth. Maybe people want the crappy, entertaining stories that aren't factually correct. Maybe people have so many options that they want to see what they like and are interested in. The truth may not even matter anymore.

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