Blog Essay Week 14

EJ Chapter

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.

Ethical Issue

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?

Class Summary

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.

Mina Radman


4 thoughts on “Blog Essay Week 14

  1. I think that it is okay for the Sun-Times to disable their comments section but only for a short amount of times. There are only so many solutions to these type of hate-filled comments, therefore it shouldn’t take them a long time to figure out what the best solution is for them. Individuals shouldn’t be stripped of their right to communicate with the media.

    -Danielle Lawrence

  2. I don’t agree that the Sun-Times should have disables their comments section because that is limiting free speech, but also the aspect of journalism as a public forum. I think it is acceptable to delete comments and state why a comment was deleted in generic terms if they are particularly disturbing and distressing, which is something most papers enlist.

  3. To be completely honest, I don’t know how I feel about the Sun-Times’ decision to disable its comments section. I would be interested in discussing this issue further in class because I would like to hear the different sides of the argument. I understand that by not allowing comments, then the news organization is limiting speech. However, monitoring comments and only deleting some brings up the issue of acting as a gatekeeper. Right now, I think I agree with an all or nothing approach. Either allow all comments or don’t allow comments at all. This prevents an organization from becoming a gatekeeper of free speech.

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