Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Remember when Wikipedia was accessible for anyone to edit or
add information? It was considered an unreliable source for academic writing.
If anyone could add or edit information, it becomes difficult to differentiate
what is true and what is not. The same goes for social media. How can we
determine a credible and trustworthy source from a hoax? The answer lies in the
value of trust. Trust on social media is established through reliable sources.
By first locating where information came from, we can determine if it is
An example of trusting social media sources can be referred
back to the article Twitter: always first, not always right by Pete Cashmore.
The death of Whitney Houston first appeared on twitter from the username “
@chilemasgrande.” Social media allows anyone to divulge any sort of information
whether it is true, half true, or false. Although this social media handle may
have delivered the death 30 minutes before the Associated Press, it did not
have full details or the same amount of trust. People either didn’t believe it
or believed the wrong information. That is why it is so important to check
where your information came from before further spreading it or taking it
seriously. It is also important to stay up to date with credible sources.
Information is likely to change or expose itself more throughout time.
With the possibility of expressing any thought, true or not,
on Twitter, is this really a platform we can trust? In the article Is All of
twitter Fair Game for Journalists by Amanda Hess the topic of the blurred line
between reporters is discussed. Discussing a topic or conversing in one may
lead to your association with that topic. For example, in this article,
Christine Fox responded to a rape tweet for an open discussion. This open
discussion was reposted onto several platforms including Facebook, Buzzfeed,
and all over Twitter. She never consented to being the face of rape survivors.
From this, we can conclude that Twitter is a private platform; however, not all
information is reportable. Reporters need to sit back and strategically think
about the information they report. Is this information true? Is this
information valuable? How will it affect person to person? There needs to be an
ethical boundary set for journalists and reporters who gather information from
social media platforms.
Keeping this idea of trust in mind, we can apply this to our
working lives. When you work for a company, you represent that company to the
public. It is imperative to be knowledgeable on your company’s mission
statement and commitments. For example, Coca Cola’s company commitments include
being transparent, protecting customer privacy, respecting third-party rights,
using technology responsibly, and monitoring social media behavior. Not only
are these commitments essential for employee’s work, it is essential to carry
these out on their own personal social media accounts. If you are affiliated
with Coca Cola and you veer away from company commitments online, you are
automatically associated with that bad behavior. Remember-everything online is