Journalism has always been a field built upon a code of ethics. These ethics are taught in your first journalism class, and then they’re beaten into your head for the rest of your career. After a while, they seem like second nature to you, just a set of morals to follow.
The problem js when they’re so second nature, they can be easily forgotten.
The smallest mistakes made by journalist nowadays do not go unnoticed. Today’s audience is more equipped than ever to catch anything you may have tried to lie about or use without attributing to a proper source. The Internet has too many eyes now to try and sneak something by.
I think this is a great aspect of journalism though. Obviously, the field has thrived in its role of being a watchdog for citizens, as well as covering the world’s stories and events. But for the small percentage of journalists who do try to cut corners and such, it was definitely easier to get away with.
Now, citizens can make sure their watchdog isn’t straying too far off of its leash. After all, the media is built upon the wants and needs of the public. So shouldn’t the public be able to keep an eye on journalists? Of course.
So now it’s on the shoulders of today’s journalists, and the future ones, to not underestimate the power of technology or its audience. You may think you’re a step ahead of everybody else, but in reality, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. If your stories involve cutting corners and telling lies, there is no benefit for anyone; just detriment to yourself.
With that, just go through your fact checking. It’s easy to make those kind of mistakes with quotes or attributions, especially in the beginning. You may be very apprehensive about asking so many questions to your source or subject. But it’s completely necessary to do so because those are the things that need to be 100% accurate at all times. Misprints or retractions will instantly take some credibility from any story you put out there.
The bottom line is ethics are what journalism is built upon. There is a trust instilled in the media by the public to keep us informed and not lead us in the wrong direction. In any type of journalism, we must come back to that basic principle as the one our jobs were solely created for. It’s easy to forget those principles.
But it’s necessary for your success.