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Ethics in Journalism

Opinion

By: Jessica De Soto

Do you believe that ethical responsibility has suffered because gathering and reporting the news has evolved (internet, social media, citizen journalism, etc.)?

Yes, I do. The remaking of journalism has been a consistent battle for many years in the era of fake news, the internet, and citizen journalism. In 2013 at Long Beach City College, my professor, Pat Mckean had stated that newspapers would soon take a plunge in this new era that we are going in. I honestly didn't bother to listen.

However, over the years, I was beginning to see how blogging was becoming superior and how everyone and their mother wanted to become a blogger. At one point, I was intrigued by the idea, but I never took that leap of faith in doing so. I honestly didn’t see any substance to it besides how it glorified an illuminated people's opinion, which isn't wrong, but the breakdown of it seemed flawed to me because I was so used to ethical journalism; traditional journalism, and I still am because ethical journalism should be accurate, fair and honest as well as courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information (SPJ’s Code of Ethics, 2014).
An analysis article from Pew Research, "A New Journalism for Democracy in a New Age," had stated that,
“the technology has filled the world with a flood of undifferentiated information that is changing the audience for news and information from passive receivers to pro-active consumers who decide what they want when they want it and how they want it," (2005).
In the era we live in today, the internet is filled with fake news that's being portrayed as truth, and it's sad to see the masses believe in something that’s misleading them. The same aspect goes for social media as well as citizen journalism.

Social media is a place where people can post and share "their" news and display it as if it were the truth. There was an article written by Fred Brown in the Society of Professional Journalists magazine, where Quill stated that "blogs have gained favor because people are looking for information they can agree with. There is widespread and intense suspicion of all established institutions – including traditional journalism. Most people think everybody spins the news, including the people who are supposed to provide facts unspun” (Brown, 2005).

In the era we live in now, people are inclined to subdue their attention in pieces that are more catered to what they like and not what’s true. It’s almost as if journalism is falling away from its faith. A true journalist must stay at root in seeking the truth and reporting it. Although American journalism is always under scrutiny, especially in the world we live in today; therefore, it is unquestionably important to stay consistent with the ethics of journalism and keep the code to preach the truth to the masses and not conform to the popular trend of distributing misleading information.

Photos By: WIX

References
Quill Magazine: https://www.quillmag.com/2005/08/01/citizen-journalism-is-not-professional-journalism/
SPJ Code of Ethics: https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
Pew Research Center: https://www.journalism.org/2005/02/01/a-new-journalism-for-democracy-in-a-new-age/

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