This chapter discussed citizen journalism. I think it’s important for citizens to feel as though they have a voice in the media, but I worry about the media becoming too inundated with citizen journalists who do not fully understand accuracy and objectivity. Although citizen journalists provide an incredible amount of first-hand information that we could not get – for example, video of the bomb going off at the Boston Marathon exactly one year ago today – they also should not be providing all of the media coverage. Citizens are still the consumers of media, and if they feel as though there’s no reason to consume the media because they’re the ones producing it, how can a business model for media exist? I think citizens should be more consumers than contributors.
The Chicago Sun-Times disabled comments on its online stories so that it can find a system that will “foster a productive discussion rather than an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing,” according to managing editor Craig Newman. This is an ethical issue because, in a way, the Sun-Times is limiting free speech. Technically, people can say what they want about stories, regardless if they want to write kind words or hate. Unfortunately, the Internet allows them to hide behind their words. By disabling its comments section, the Sun-Times appears to be halting free speech in order to make their website pretty. I don’t know if I agree that a newspaper website should have this type of limitation.
DQ: Do you think it’s okay for the Sun-Times to disable its comments section?
To be completely honest, I do not feel as though I took much from this class, but I may think differently after the semester ends. Although I appreciate learning and understand the ethical thought process behind decisions, and I will use what I learned in class to make decisions about how I consume media and discuss media with others in my future career, I do not feel as though much I learned in the class I did not intuitively know before. To me, the ethical topics we discussed in class reminded me why I don’t want to be a journalist anymore more so than why I do.