Blog Essay Week 3

E.J. Chapter 1 – What is Journalism For?

This chapter makes me wish that I’d read this book as a freshman because it may have altered my beliefs of journalism. I forgot, until I read about Anna Semborska in Poland, about journalism’s position as the watch-guard for democracy and freedom. I think the purpose of journalism has been severely diluted over time, and people have forgotten its importance.

M.E. Chapter 2 – Information Ethics: A Profession Seeks the Truth

This chapter made me think a lot about my role as a journalism student. Tonight at my sorority’s recruitment, one of the girls who I was talking to asked me why I chose journalism, and I didn’t know how to answer the question. This chapter made me think about my answer, and I realize that it’s because I wanted to write about discoveries and people that matter, but I think that purpose has gotten lost while I’ve been a journalism student and I’ve seen the state of the industry. This chapter’s focus on deception and honesty made me think a lot about the potential deceptions that happen in journalism today.

Case Study 2-A

To be honest, I’ve always enjoyed the idea of quote approval. I understand where it can be unethical, but I rather people be OK with what they’re quoted as saying because I would like to approve of my quotes when I’m interviewed, too.

Micro issues

  1. Journalists should not give up quote approval to candidates and politicians because they can skew their campaigning messages.
  2. The information that readers get after a politician has changed his message can greatly alter the truth.
  3. I believe that quote approval works on a case-by-case basis. I personally am OK with quote approval.

Midrange issues

  1. I am not OK with video approval because that requires a lot of editing if the source does not like what they see.
  2. Journalists should tell readers how information was collected but that does not mean it needs to be heavily edited.
  3. Quote approval is, in a way, censorship. It’s a tough subject to discuss and needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Macro issues

  1. Journalists need to serve the public interest and provide news adequately and fairly.
  2. Citizen journalists would not think of receiving quote approval, I think. I also don’t believe politicians take them seriously yet.

Case Study 2-D

Micro issues

  1. No, she should not have run the story without the independent investigation. That’s very sloppy reporting.
  2. Yes, he is.
  3. No, he’s not. Reporting the truth objectively is important.

Midrange issues

  1. No, journalists need to examine the facts that they report and make sure they are as accurate as possible.
  2. Journalists can remain objective but be invested in a story. However, I know that I personally would become biased.
  3. Journalists should try to investigate and report as much of the truth as they can, even if it takes time.

Macro issues

  1. Facts are accurate information and tangible. Truth is relative and filtered through perception.
  2. I believe that journalists should let the public know if a fact is not true in order to maintain the highest journalism standards.
  3. It’s hard to figure out what’s objective media these days because everyone seems to have their own agenda that they are pushing onto the readers or/and viewers.

Case Study 2-F

Micro issues

  1. Phone hacking is unethical. That information has not been obtained in a legal way and should not be used in a story.
  2. Davies had a hunch and chased it and exposed the truth. The fact that it is about a competitor doesn’t matter much because it was important to reveal.
  3. The information doesn’t matter as much as the journalist broke the public’s trust by breaking into people’s phones.
  4. Phone hacking is lying to the public and worse than anything else. End of story.

Midrange issues

  1. These days, news organizations only want to see how many hits and views they get. They seem to have lost the watchdog ideal in the midst of trying to make money.
  2. I absolutely believe the 24/7 news cycle makes journalists act on the borderline because they’re desperately trying to find stories to report for all this time they have to fill.
  3. I do believe that a lot of journalists will do anything to get a story, but there are some good ones who do things for the right reasons left.

Macro issues

  1. The government should make sure that the corporate media owners aren’t doing anything that crosses legal boundaries.
  2. The Guardian cares about journalism, News of the World cared about sales.
  3. Money makes everything blurry, and I think when you add economic institutions to journalism ones that actions may be taken without the best intentions.

DQ: Do you think quote approval is ever OK?

Ethical Issue of the Week: I know that Dr. Rodgers had emailed out this ethical issue, but I don’t think there’s been anything else this week that’s more important or damaging than this case. In October, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt committed suicide because she found out that a journalist was about to publish an article revealing that she was a transgender individual. The journalist dedicated nearly 8,000 words to this fact, and as the Guardian writes, exploited her gender and past for his own fascination – beyond overstepping his role as a journalist. I think this is a clear case as to why many people have lost faith in journalism, because they believe journalists forget that people are humans with feelings rather than simply subjects in a story for their exploitation.

Plato’s Cave: Truth is connected to human thought and behavior, and each of us has a different belief on the idea of truth. His idea was that we are living in a cave because we only know a shadow of the truth from what we see rather than the full truth itself.

Pragmatism: We each see truth through our own filter and perceptions. The truth depends on who is investigating information for it.

Marketplace of Ideas: If you let various versions of the truth exist, then the full truth will make an appearance.

Partisan Press: A publication that got a lot of funding from particular political parties and so its articles were swayed a certain way. The idea of a partisan press helped spawn the objectivity standard that exists today.

Early 20th Century Progressive Movement: Yellow journalism existed and people challenged the ideas of what was truthful and how you presented the truth.

Walter Lippmann: “we define first and then we see.”

Pseudo Event: no real news takes place, and the event is choreographed and planned to go along with an already-crafted message.

Coherence Theory of Truth: Truth is discovered by using a variety of methods.

Interlocking public: Idea that people should be involved in the public in one way or another. People are either part of the involved public, interested public or uninterested public.

Mina Radman


4 thoughts on “Blog Essay Week 3

  1. I do think that quote approval is ok because it verifies that what is written is a fact and truthful. Although some may argue that it is not ethical to change something in a story once it is said, I do not agree with that. As noted in the readings for this week, truth can be thought of as relative. Therefore just because something is changed doesn’t necessarily mean it is less true than what was quoted before.

    I do not necessarily think that what the journalist did was unethical. If there is a fact that is out in public why shouldn’t a journalists publish it? Although it is damaging, I don’t see how that posed a real threat to Vanderbuilt. On the other hand, I wouldn’t publish this story because it doesn’t have any new news value to me. There are thousands of transgender people, and just because someone is transgender doesn’t mean you need to include that fact in a story about their inventions. I don’t think it makes the story any more interesting, considering America is now in a state where transgender and homosexual individuals are becoming more accepted.

  2. Comment approval is OK in most circumstances. I do agree with you that I would rather have a correct quote than an incorrect one. Sometimes I even prefer to read back a statement I wanted clarification of before I left an interview. I see comment approval as a way of telling the truth. I disapprove of comment approval when the source wants to completely change what they’ve said. That’s not truthful nor is it ethical to readers/viewers.

    I think a quote from Pope John Paul II sums up the readings of the week quite well: “With its vast and direct influence on public opinion, journalism cannot be guided only by economic forces, profit, and special interest. It must instead be felt as a mission in a certain sense sacred, carried out in the knowledge that the powerful means of communication have been entrusted to you for the good of all.” I read it from EJ and it instantly resonated with me. I felt so strongly about the quote that I had to share it with others.

  3. I agree that the purpose of journalism has gotten a bit lost. I find that many news casts and articles are published simply to entertain and the other journalism standards I also strive to meet — to inform and to educate — tend to be left out. It is important for journalists to provide readers with news that matters and will have an impact. I would prefer to see more hard news verses celebrity gossip in the media.

  4. As a journalist, I would want to avoid quote approval as much as possible. I think if there was an important story that needed to be covered and the only way to talk to a source who was important was to guarantee quote approval I think that’s a special case. I understand that many politicians want quote approval, but I think it should be avoided because allowing it adds a certain bias into your story.
    I agree with you about your ethical case for the week. I remember from Reporting Professor Foley told us not to forget your humanity as a journalist. This journalist clearly overstepped boundaries and the consequences of that were terrible.

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