Ethical Journalism Requires Conscientious Decision Making in Context

1879 Words Sep 26th, 2008 8 Pages
Ethical journalism requires conscientious decision making in context

There is indeed a grain of truth in the above statement, journalism ethics does require careful decision making. However, it would have been ideal if conscientious decision could be applied to all contexts. Journalists can be said to be the moral agents of societies. They act as watchdogs or ‘newshounds’, as well as active collectors and disseminators of information (Deuze 2004). Moreover, their job entails certain obligations and their goal, which is the seeking of truth and communicating it to the world can be a difficult one. As stated by Shriver (1998, cited in Starck 2001), “journalists wrestle daily to give order and meaning to the endless and confusing flow of
…show more content…
Each person has the capability of judging according to different sets of values, ingrained in them, for instance aesthetic values, logical values or moral values. However, newsroom socialization as an external factor has been found to be a very helpful for journalists while they make decisions (Voakes 1997). Newsroom socialization is mainly about, group discussions among peer, editors, and co-workers. In an interview, a journalist from The Courier-journal, stated that while covering news, “I try to recall whether my co-workers have done something similar in the past" (Voakes 1997). For example, if a journalist has to cover a story on the aborigines in Australia, he will try to recall whether his colleagues have covered such a story before, and if they did, he will immediately recall that the mentioning of the name and images of deceased people can cause great distress among their community (Stockwell & Scott 2000).

Moreover, journalists are always on the run due to their deadline-oriented profession. These deadlines do not allow journalists to invest time in knowing different communities, and cultures before they can actually write their news pieces. Hence, faced with tricky decision and tight deadlines, decisions are made on the fly. On the other hand, no one likes to be considered unfair or racist, and media workers who inflict unfair treatment are rarely aware of

Related Documents