EJ Chapt. 5: Independence from Faction
This chapter interested me for several reasons. First, I thought the hire of Safire was intriguing, especially the thought behind it. I’ve seen several cases where columnists are former politicians, and I never thought of how they would be treated by their colleagues. I’m impressed that he said it didn’t really bother him. I don’t think I would have the same thought when it comes to my colleagues idea of me – I would want them to respect and work with me. I also agree with him when he says political experience is important as a journalist.
The principle in this chapter, “journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover,” is important, but I think it can sometimes be unfair. Photographers can do freelance work for companies as they please, and they don’t get criticized of being biased. Why can’t writers do the same, so long as they reveal their potential bias to the reader? I don’t see the problem in this.
ME Chapt. 6: Mass Media in a Democratic Society: Keeping a Promise
I agree that Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is a form of political communication and can be referred to in conversation. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert play a huge role in shaping people’s knowledge and opinion on topics, and I think it’s important to recognize their role in media.
Regarding media’s role in elections: I realized while reading the chapter that I do receive a lot of information from political ads if I don’t directly try to discover information myself. This is a problem because the information is so slanted. I think journalists could work harder to ensure adequate information about the candidates is accessible to a large portion of the public, not just a small percentage, and that the information provided is clear and unbiased. I definitely think that bias is an issue in coverage of political candidates and elections.
In relation to candidates’ privacy, I think they deserve it. They should be judged on whether they can serve, not on personal problems.
Case Study 6-A
Is a site like Politifact.com okay in sharing information with the public, and how can journalists discern facts from the truth for readers?
I think a site like Politifact.com is fantastic because it examines the political claims. Unfortunately, I don’t think people know about it.
It’s an important site that can help share information to a public that needs to know.
Case Study 6-B
Is Assange a journalist? That’s the big question behind WikiLeaks. Clearly, there was information we needed to know, but what was his role in that information?
If Assange isn’t a journalist, than is he just a hacker? Is what he did wrong if it released information we needed to know?
I think Assange cannot be considered a journalist but rather a man who had the power to release information and did so. We’re not sure what his full intentions behind the decision were, and thus I cannot fully decide on this case but I don’t believe he is a journalist.
Case Study 6-F
Should deception have been used?
Could the Spokesman Review gotten information otherwise? I don’t think a fictional character should have been created to communicate with West – I think that shows lack of clarity on the newspaper’s part, and they should have relied on sources instead of deception.
Deception should not have been used because the act of deception makes it difficult for the public reading a story to trust that the journalists shared the truth.
Ethical Issue of the Week
To me, NBC has failed with Olympics coverage again this year. They constantly make decisions that make me question whether their reporters actually graduated from journalism programs or, in some cases, have a heart. This week’s ethical issue relates to that. On Sunday, Olympian Bode Miller won a gold medal, and NBC reporter Christin Cooper goaded him to tears by asking repeated questions about Miller’s brother’s death earlier this year. I think that, after Bode’s first answer, Cooper should have shut up and let the man have an emotional moment in peace. Instead, he didn’t, and the public isn’t happy. As seen by the Poynter article, public reaction to this interview has been negative because it has given the journalist the title of being heartless. I don’t think badgering him about this question was ethically sound, only desired because of good TV.
DQ: Do you think journalists can do freelance work for foundations, non-profits, companies, etc.?
disinterested: not interested by personal gain from a situation
partisan journalism: Slant of articles in medium can take either a conservative or liberal view
journalism of affirmation: Journalists report with a point of view, and their viewers follow that same viewpoint.
civic journalism: integration of journalism into democracy
mass media: all the mediums of communication used to reach the public.
audience fragmentation: audiences get smaller as variety increases
social responsibility theory of the press: The press has an obligation to benefit society at large.
pluralism: diversity of views rather than a singular approach
verisimilitude: the appearance of being real or true when sharing messages.