Free «Truthfulness of Journalist/News Report» Essay Sample
Journalist ethics is a concern not only for media industry professionals but also for the public. This importance is increased by the fact that today's society is an informational society in which people rely on the media for information. Consequently, it is indispensable to have journalists who abide by the ethical code of conduct in the media industry to prove correct and accurate information to the public. Providing the right information to the public acts as an educational tool empowering the audiences to make the proper choices and influences their decision-making process. The media has a responsibility to serve their audiences in a fair and unbiased manner. Failure to do this makes the viewers to lose trust in the media industry making media professions appear untrustworthy. In an attempt to provide credible information, journalists face challenges as they must guarantee that their personal opinions do not affect the news they report. Truthful reporting is one of the media ethics that mandates journalists to provide correct information as their first responsibility.
The credibility of media depends on its ability to report the accurate news. However, this truth is a complex phenomenon as the truth is a reality behind facts. Effective journalism, therefore, must always seek to bring out the truth in the news reported as the audience expects a story to be credible (Forde 1). There are prerequisites for truthful reporting which include the facts that journalists must always strive to provide real information, the media houses support the journalists, and the national leaders support the media houses by allowing the freedom of expression. Despite this, it is not easy to tell the truth in the news, and some journalists fail to understand the fundamental concepts of truthful reporting. It is critical that news reporters provide true, accurate, and unbiased opinions as the public takes their word to be the undisputed truth. In their daily lives, people depend on the media to provide them with the correct information which impacts their views about various reported events in the news outlets. Since the media industry plays a vital role in public education, they must always strive to provide information that is not false. In writing news and reports, journalists must only rely not on statistics but on morals and ethical considerations that guide this noble profession. Due to the critical role that the media plays in educating the society, journalists must strive to provide only accurate information to the public.
Truth in news reporting is a relative term when it comes to political issues. From surveys, the public is increasingly becoming skeptical about the truthfulness of political news reported; as such, trust in the media houses is declining fast. In a study conducted in the United States of America, 77% of the participants felt that media houses showed bias in reporting news (Gentzkow et al. 2). They held that reported news seemed to favor one political side. 63% of the respondents indicated that media houses tended to have political affiliations (Gentzkow et al. 2). Lack of credibility and truth in journalism occurs in different ways. One of this is distortion which occurs when reporters report misleading information for various reasons. This distortion sometimes includes eliminating crucial details leaving the reader with one side of the story. Providing biased information is unethical in journalism and affects the credibility of the journalist as well as the media house that publishes such information.
Another cause of bias in reporting is information filtering in which reporters eliminate some facts leaving only those that are favorable to them. The role of the media industry is to provide information to the public to aid them in making informed decisions. However, when media houses take stands, they cannot offer unbiased and neutral information to their audiences. Having political positions significantly influences the voter's decisions. Providing biased information prevents the viewers from having the real facts as they only get to hear one side of the story, which is unethical as it compromises the audiences though processes. Even with distortion and biases in reporting, the fact is that the diversity in media industry allows viewers to choose which media news outlet to read (Gentzkow et al. 9). This competition also reduces the bias in news reporting. Biases and distortion occur not only in political issues; they happen each time reporters fail to provide an accurate representation of a situation. Journalists' interests, biases, and opinions lead them to make subjective decisions compromising the credibility of their news report.
A journalist’s first obligation is to ensure that the news they provide is credible. Nevertheless, in their effort to give this reliable and accurate report, the journalists face challenges that at times compromise the credibility of their news. One of these issues is the fact that the journalist and the audience do not necessarily share the same definition of the term truth (Forde 2). Also, presenting their stories, journalists strive to gather and verify facts. These facts act as building bricks in media stories and reports. However, issues arise in terms of how the reporters establish which point is relevant and which is not. Additionally, the journalists accord too much importance to the facts yet they are statements about the world subject to contest. In some instances, it is difficult to determine the accuracy of these events due to conflicting evidence. Yet, even in such situation, the reporters must conform to the truth-telling process. Another issue that affects truthful reporting in journalism is the problem of meaning. When the reporters provide facts, they must try to help their readers grasp the correct definition of those circumstances (Forde 2). The point is that different people interpret events and statements differently. Consequently, they may understand the facts differently from what the reporter intended to mean. The problem also comes from various perceptions in individuals which make them see things differently. This difficulty, however, does not in any way negate the journalist's responsibility to follow media ethics and report real news.
Media ethics has been in existence for a long time. With a change in technology, however, these guidelines are subject to changes. This difference became dominant with the rise of social media and crowdsourcing platforms that play a critical role in how media houses connect with their audiences. Through crowdsourcing, media houses can assign tasks previously done by journalists to an unidentified person through a public call (Martin 1). The media industries are one of the sectors that have experienced both negative and positive effects of digital change and the need to adapt to the changing demands of their audiences. Since this digital change has altered the way the media thinks, there has been a need for corresponding change in media norms and ethics to fit this move. Truthful reporting is one of the sectors that have experienced changes. The effects of digitalization affect how journalist acquire and verify facts.
Traditional journalism states that information and facts must come from official sources. However, with internet platforms, there is a shift from this paradigm with media houses using social media platforms as instant modes of transmitting fragments of information from both official and unofficial sources (Martin 2). Traditionally, the auditors played the role of mediating information publication. In today's world, however, different media houses publish breaking news online and document eyewitness accounts without the editors' moderation. These platforms also provide an opportunity for the journalists and audience to interact with one another creating a collaborative research tool for the journalists (Martin 2). Despite this advantage, digital platforms threaten to undermine the role of journalists as fact-finders. The threat becomes more profound with the rise of citizen journalism that continues to blur the boundaries between journalists and the public. With the current trend, print journalism could become a thing of the past.
In conclusion, the media industry has ethical guidelines that govern the conduct of professionals in this sector. These ethical requirements imply that journalists should report the accurate news. It, therefore, means that journalists must always strive to provide the correct and verified information. To achieve this, they require the support of the media houses and government officials at the same time being allowed freedom of expression. The importance of accurate news comes from the fact the public takes a story as the correct undisputable facts which shape their opinion. In providing the right information, journalists face challenges as they may encounter different perceptions of the audience which sometimes leads to misinterpretation. Despite the effort of some journalists to provide accurate information, the public feels that many are biased when it comes to political news in which many media houses seem to have taken sides providing one-sided communication. Additionally, some journalists allow their interests and opinions to influence their reports leading them to make subjective conclusions. With the shift to digital platforms, media ethics has changed to comply with the changes. Today, some companies use social media outlets as platforms to transmit news from both official and unofficial sources. Such platforms also provide an interactive tool for journalists allowing them to conduct research online.