Sunday, October 2, 2016

Media Treatment of Victims

Erin Franczak

A journalist's job is to stay as neutral as possible, and commit to finding the truth with as little harm as possible. But, what happens if journalists look for the story without any regard to the person involved? That's when things get complicated, and journalists lose credibility.

The readings for this week showcased examples of victims who were made to feel strong emotions after speaking or not speaking to reporters.

Lenny Skutnik was a man who risked his life to rescue an Air Florida Crash survivor. He then had to deal with something some would say is a whole lot worse... the media. He told News Lab, "I did one network and another one called, so I asked them to call the one I talked to." He said most of the reporters were just looking for a story and were rude, but there were some nice and professional reporters.

This personally makes me worry for the future of journalism. I want to be able to reach out and make a difference by finding the truth and solving problems the world faces by unveiling secrets through writing.

I was very frustrated with the fourth article. It focused on a sheriff who wanted to be sure that a shooter remained nameless. The officers felt that he did not deserve to be named and live on through his horrid legacy, but instead, some journalists uncovered his name and it was leaked to the press. Even if this wasn't mentioned in any journalistic code, why would you feel the need to release his name? What good would it really do?

The code that would best go with this example is "recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast." But in the end, it is my opinion, and this is still a controversial issue.

The article does make a point to mention, "Advocates for naming perpetrators argue the public stands to gain more from transparency than it does from withholding information."

Another example of journalists in the wrong comes from treating some races better than others. the examples that this article showed were titles of published news stories. The first was "Trayvon Martin was suspended three times" and, another was "shooting victim had many run-ins with law."

But when there was a white suspect the article read, "Bank robbery suspect was outstanding Blue Hills student." I think that racism is example of ignorance and bias. It clearly does not belong in the world, let alone articles meant to represent neutrality and unbiased reports. My friend once told me that when it comes to black citizens, the news reports their past, but white citizens will be reported on their potential future.

One perfect example of this is Brock Turner, who is still known as a swimmer, which was his future rather than what he did to a harmless girl.

Even with all this bad journalism, there are still well-trained professional reporters working to seek the truth. Maureen Kanka used journalism and reporters to plea for her daughters safe return and then to help set up Megan's Law. I hope that one day I can be one of the journalists who make a difference rather than just be looking for the next story.

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