Blog Essay Week 4

EJ Chapter 2

This chapter focused on the role of truthfulness in the media. I agree that a journalist’s first obligation is to the truth, but I think that very few follow that premise. For example, most journalists are focused on accuracy and reporting facts, but they don’t always disclose what has been said or done in order to receive those facts. There’s an old quote that says, “there’s three sides: you, me and the truth,” and I think that we don’t see the full truth in a lot of articles. There’s a lot that can’t be written without having been experienced.

I don’t think that it’s always ethical, however, and it makes me think about the Pentagon Papers case. As the chapter says: if we had known what was really reported to the President in 1963 instead of 1971, think about how many lives would have been saved and how different the country would be. I wish that journalists of the time would have dug deeper into the facts rather than accept what was said. But I’m not sure they would do any different today.

ME pg. 61-62

I’ve worked in journalism and in public relations, and I really don’t like the saying that there’s this bitter hatred between the two fields because I’ve never seen it myself. Journalists rely on PR officials to let them know when a big announcement will be made or if there’s news they need to report – and I’ve seen that first hand. Last summer, when I worked on the PR team of a national non-profit, our PR director called an AP reporter to let him know about a breaking news story that would be released the next day so he could have time to prepare. That AP reporter was grateful for the notice and the time. Neither field can survive without the other, and I think good journalists and PR officials know that. More importantly, I think that the rise of digital journalism and technology would make PR less dependent on journalism, as organizations and companies can create their own internal news agencies and media outlets for their information, rather than rely on a journalist.

“Rashômon”

I did not enjoy this movie. It was long, utterly boring, and I don’t enjoy the unsettling message of truth it was trying to share. While I didn’t like it, I see reality in it. Many journalists work to get “clicks” rather than share truth, and there are plenty of “happy stories” that are fabricated to go viral because it’ll gather more clicks. I think this movie just pointed out that stark reality.

DQ

“What is your opinion of working with PR officials to disseminate information?”

Ethical Issue of the Week

On Monday, director Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing an article that linked to a download for his leaked movie script. The lawsuit says:

“Gawker Media has made a business of predatory journalism, violating people’s right to make a buck. This time they’ve gone too far. Rather than merely publishing a news story reporting that Plaintiff’s screenplay may have been circulating in Hollywood without his permission, Gawker Media crossed the journalistic line by promoting itself to the public as the first source to read the entire screenplay illegally. Their headline boasts, ‘Here is the leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script’ — here, not someplace else, but ‘here’ on the Gawker website. The article then contains multiple direct links for downloading the entire screenplay through a conveniently anonymous URL by simply clicking button-links on the Gawker page, and brazenly encourages Gawker visitors to read the screenplay illegally with an invitation to ‘enjoy’ it. There was nothing newsworthy or journalistic about Gawker Media facilitating and encouraging the public’s violation of Plaintiff’s copyright in the screenplay, and its conduct will not shield Gawker Media from liability for their unlawful activity.”

I think that it was incredibly unethical of Gawker to publish the leaked script and takes them to a new level of low as a “media” organization. I think that websites like Gawker, which can occasionally run very informative and captivating articles, will do ANYTHING to get a story and do not live by an ethical code, and it angers me. This is absolutely a case of copyright infringement, and I hope they get taken down for money, and this stands as a symbolic case for all the lesser-known artists whose work is stolen without credit, too.

Vocabulary

“Bread and circuses”:  Distracting the public from an important policy or situation by offering an unrelated topic of conversation.

Edward Bernays: The “father of public relations.” He believed manipulation was necessary in society, which he called dangerous and irrational.

truth: Merriam-Webster defines truth as “the quality or state of being true.”

objectivity Information given that is based on facts instead of emotions or biases

“the world outside and the pictures in our heads”: Walter Lippmann said this. This means that how a person sees a situation may not be exactly what happened.

construction of reality:  Our reality is defined by our interactions with others and our life experiences.

synoptic: a general summary

Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels tell the same story but in different, yet similar, words.

Rashomon Effect: two interpretations of one singular event may contradict each other.

Mina Radman

mradman29@ufl.edu

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5 thoughts on “Blog Essay Week 4

  1. I think PR professionals can be helpful for journalists to disseminate information, but they are not necessary. As discussed in my own blog post this week, I think that the internet and word-of-mouth has helped information exchange become faster and more helpful.

    I agree with you that it was very unethical for Gawker Media to publish and article with a link to Tarantino’s leaked move script. As a media outlet, I can’t understand why they would not think of applying what they did as a universal rule. I’m sure that they would never want a leaked story of theirs to be published on another site, or for someone to take their work and act as if it is their own. With that said, I’m actually shocked they would ever do something like this. I hope that Tarantino successfully sues them, and they learn their lesson.

    I don’t necessarily agree with your opinion that there is a lot that can’t be written without having been experienced. I think interviews are very valuable, and if you can make a good connection with someone when they tell you their story you can relate it to one of your own. Being able to write about something you haven’t experienced is difficult and takes dedication, but I don’t think it is impossible.

    Danielle Lawrence

  2. To answer your DQ, a PR contact is a very valuable resource; however, this individual should not be a reporter’s only source. Press releases and PR contacts are a great place to start, but in order to practice “good” journalism, journalists must seek other sources and look deeper into the story than what is stated in a press release.

    -Emily MIller

  3. I think it’s interesting you bring up the role of social media’s impact on the PR field. I can definitely see how both PR professionals and journalists would not need one another as much due to social media’s role. However, for publication in newspapers and media outlets the connection and positive co-worker dependability is still important and needed. PR professionals help journalists out when it’s particularly difficult to get hold of a source’s time and attention, and as a journalist I definitely appreciate that.

    I liked your ethical issue of the week. This is an excellent example of having more information than they need to provide readers for the sake of having good ratings and readership. I think it can be hard for news outlets to compete for attention, especially when they know if they don’t post the information – someone else will. I definitely see the negative cycle of this. I don’t agree with publishing something private like this. It’s no different than publishing the part of an unpublished work that is most important to the work of someone else in order to make profit.

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