Hold Journalists accountable to a code of ethics


Ethical journalism these days is in a state of disbelief in that ethics appears to have gone by the wayside for many individuals or organizations. Individuals who write or report on news events need to be held accountable not only in what they report or write but with respect to their involvement with the news they are reporting. Any individual who is involved with providing information whether it is a writer, author or broadcaster must be above board in the approach they take. This involves not only the information being presented but the attitude especially when conducting interviews.

Some of the media has received bad publicity in recent days with regards to ethical conduct by some who are in a position of authority for the positions they hold or have held. Anytime unethical actions surface for individuals in an organization they must hold their employees accountable. As with any organization the actions or inactions of employees affect the reputation of the company or organization for which they work.

While the principles of ethics are exhibited by many individuals there are cases where either the individual or organization does have the character to enforce ethical principles. Ethics along with honesty is something consumers expect from those with which they do business or interact.

There are times when mistakes do occur either by individuals or organizations which surface in the news it is how they respond to correct the mistakes or make it right with their customers.

Accountability is needed today not only in journalism but across all organizations including government entities. The difference between government entities and journalists is the impact journalists have based on the presentation of the facts they address in their broadcast or their writing. Impacting the opinions of others is a high responsibility and any individual and/or organization must take this responsibility seriously. Reporting events or presenting information to the public should be done impartially without reference to political philosophy either as an individual or organization.

The outcome of the upcoming election can or will be impacted by the actions of the media in general in providing accurate information from which voters form opinions. It is true that candidates often have issues in their past but if they have learned from their mistakes they should not be criticized for them. Granted sometimes issues can affect their ability to lead given the seriousness of the mistakes. The key point to make is that candidates must be honest with the public from which they are asking for their support. The job of journalists or broadcasters is to ensure that all candidates receive fair coverage regardless of their political affiliation. Given the nature and political ideology of some media organizations this may be difficult for them to provide. The public deserves fair and impartial coverage of political candidates regardless of the office for which they are seeking.

Basically the code of ethics for which journalists should subscribe includes the principles of integrity which includes but not limited to honesty, completeness and reliability. The point of being reliable involves being true to the coverage the public deserves in their coverage of the news or political events such as candidates for political office. The influx of the Internet provides more opportunities to receive a variety of coverage and often the information can be contradictory dependent upon the coverage being provided. We as voters must hold those individuals who write or report on news events accountable for their coverage. We should expect nothing less.


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Comments 2 comments

Larry Wall 18 months ago

Dennis:

I agree completely, and I am a former journalist. Actually, I still am, in the sense that I write a commentary on current events, question claims and charges and other items.

Journalism has gone through several stages. There was the muckraking period, where newspapers and authors exposed things that were wrong with government and various industries.

There was the sensationalism period where big cities, like New York may have a dozen papers trying to out-do each other. The economics, i.e, the lack of enough advertising dollars ended that.

We had a kinder press beginning with Word War II and President Roosevelt that lasted through the Johnson administration. The Nixon Watergate scandal followed by the development of 24-hour news started the current trend we face today. If I ran a television news network, every reporter that worked for me would spend at least two years with a small town paper. They would find out how to deal with sitting through a three-hour city council meeting and lawyers, who did not make seven figures and where no one ever dared asked to read your copy before turning it into the editor.

We once had a good crop of TV news reporters. David Brinkley, Gary Utley, John Chancellor, Walter Cronkite and many others did a geat job, but they were newsmen. They could actually cover a story without someone else doing a story about the reporter who was doing the story.

I do not have a good solution. I am disappointed to see small newspapers purchased by chains and all print the same news, and one person sets the editorial opinion of the entire chain.

There are some good reporters and columnists who are not liberal or conservative. They just address each issue on their merits.

The final problem is that everyone is now a journalist. You can write a blog on the Internet or a Hub here on Hub Pages and you are a journalist. Some do a good job. Others, if I was teaching a beginning course in journalism would have to spend a lot of time learning how to separate fact from opinion.


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Dennis AuBuchon 18 months ago Author

Larry,

Thank you for stopping by and providing additional input to this hub. I could not agree more with what you have said and the information you provided.

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