Disclaimer: This blog post is short, and I know it doesn’t reach the highest standards that Dr. Rodgers expects from our blog posts. However, I developed a nasty cold over the weekend, and I read the chapters and completed this blog in-between naps and doses of cold medicine, so I know this won’t be my best work, but at least I got it done.
EJ Chapter 3: Who Journalists Work For
The take-away of this chapter is clear: Journalism, at its essence, is for the citizens. However, and I think the chapter does a good job of pointing this out, journalism is a business, and journalists feel like their hands are tied between wanting to produce quality journalism and needing to pay the bills.
I don’t blame journalists for wanting to worry more about themselves than the citizens. They are struggling in a highly competitive world where it’s all about the ratings you produce and the clicks you receive. If a top executive gets paid lots of money, why can’t the lower-level reporter who is actually during the work, too?
I agree with what the author says about isolationism. With the decline of local papers and the consolidation of larger metropolitan papers, journalism is moving away from the community. A lot of times, the journalist isn’t from the town or city he or she is reporting for and that means he or she doesn’t feel a connection to the people or understand their wants or needs.
ME Chapter 4: Loyalty: choosing between competing alliances
I think the discussion around loyalty is interesting. I believe that journalists can choose their loyalty depending on the situation. Sometimes, you are loyal to the reader. You know they need the information, and you work to publish it. Other times, you’re loyal to the source. Maybe the source is a sexual abuse victim or in a dangerous situation, and they need your promise to remain quiet on their identity/whereabouts.
I like the part where it talks about identifying yourself as a journalist and not the employee of a particular organization, however, I slightly disagree. I think you should mention the organization you work for to show credibility. Sadly, anyone with a blog can call him or herself a journalist these days.
Case Study 4-A
If you use Bok’s Model, then Barrett Tryon acted correctly. To use this model, you look at the facts, then you weigh alternatives and then hold a discussion.
The facts in this case: In 2012, LA Times posted an article saying that Freedom Communications Holdings, Inc. would sell seven newspapers to a Boston Investment Group. Tryon worked for one of these papers and posted about the sale on social media. His boss asked him to take it down, saying it went against the company’s social media policy; he refused to do so and resigned from the job.
Value: I agree that he did the right thing by resigning from his job. I understand that journalists maybe shouldn’t get themselves into a conflict of interest by posting something they could be directly related to, but no company should be able to say “don’t post that.”
Discussion: What do you think?
Case Study 4-C
Twitter allows journalists to publish information within seconds of a breaking news event. In this case, the topic revolves around publishing information on a personal account before the organization account. I believe that the reporter’s loyalty is to his followers and so it’s OK if he posts the information first, so long as it is accurate.
Case Study 4-D
I believe Jessica Luce did the correct thing by revealing her relationship and removing herself from the police beat. Otherwise, it would have been a major conflict of interest. I think she did the best thing for her followers by acting the way she did.
Social contract: Loyalty is a social act and people can have more than one loyalty. Journalists choose between loyalty to followers and loyalty to their organization/sources.
Loyalty: Related to the profession, loyalty means keeping yourself to the highest standard of reporting.
Ethical Issue of the Week: J.K. Rowling sued The Daily Mail last week for Libel, stating that the article, headlined “How JK Rowling’s sob story about her past as a single mother has left the churchgoers who cared for her upset and bewildered”, didn’t represent her correctly. The Daily Mail has since taken down the article, but I agree that she has a right to sue, especially since the journalist “contacted Rowling’s representative prior to publication but he “failed to put to her or offer any opportunity to comment on the allegations he was proposing to publish”, which is “contrary to basic standards of fair and responsible journalism.” (Quoting the Guardian story)
DQ: Who are you more loyal to: your readers or your employer?