EJ Chapter 10
This chapter questions whether journalists should exercise their personal conscience when making decisions about stories. To me, this seems like common sense. Yes, journalists want to appease their editors and bosses and keep their jobs, but if their conscience is telling them to not write a story, then they should not. After all, they’re the ones who have their byline attached to the story, not the editors.
Before I go into each article, I want to give my overall opinion. If you’re writing about a topic with a bias view, that’s opinion journalism. If you’re writing about a topic with an end-goal in mind in terms of the change you want to create in the world, that’s public interest communications, not journalism. I don’t believe in the term advocacy journalism. I think public interest communications is the best way to define what “advocacy journalism” wants to define, but seems contradictory because journalism should not advocate anything, just provide facts and objective reporting.
Journalism for Action
I think having a call to action in articles would be amazing. So often, we hear of an awful event or situation, become emotionally involved in it, but are never given the answer of what we can do to help. I think that’s why so many people are disheartened by journalism: journalists share stories of misery and hardship but don’t tell us what we can do to help. I think the call to action isn’t a bias take on reporting – I think it’s answering a very important question of “what can we do now?”
In praise of the almost-journalist
This article reminds me of the public interest communications field. Increasingly, advocacy organizations are hiring journalists to write and report for their cause. And why not? The journalist has amazing training in writing, reporting, accuracy and fact-finding and can be a huge asset in furthering a cause. However, I think that once a journalist takes on this hat, he or she can no longer cause him or herself a journalist. At this point, he or she becomes a communications professional and a former journalist because he or she has taken on a bias view of writing and communicating information.
Let’s talk about how NBC News drives me bonkers because they always seem to stretch and bend the rules of ethics. In the latest, “Oh Jeez, NBC” moment, the network allowed president George W. Bush to be interviewed by his daughter, Jenna. I do not believe this is appropriate at all. Even if the topic of the interview was lighthearted, the network still allowed a conflict of interest to arise, and it just becomes silly entertainment fodder rather than a journalistic piece of work. I think actions like these hurt NBC News’s credibility as a network and objective news source.
DQ: Do you think famous people can be interviewed by their children if their children work for a news organization?