AT&D #24. Journalism Ethics

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Do you think journalists follow the RTDNA and SPJ code of ethics? Why/why not? 

After reading through each of the codes, I can definitely say that both exhibit extensive detail with regards to many areas of journalism one has to uphold/practice and avoid/be wary of. With that being said, some of the points made by the SPJ code—I already realized—are generally followed and in other cases, broken consistently. For instance, some codes that are typically followed include taking responsibility for one’s work (stating the author/ editor/writer), identifying sources (i.e. quotes are always attributed to a person whose name is given in either a preceding or following sentence), and maintaining neutrality concerning racial and sexual insensitiveness (diction and written style of the journalist).

On the flipside, some codes that are typically broken include writing on conflicts of interest (where in some cases, such conflicts can be very controversial; police brutality comes to mind), writing to a style that may cater to an opinion (usually political, can be either subtle or obvious), and distorting facts by stretching the truth on a matter for the sake of having a “juicier” story (which can also be achieved by editing accompanying photos as “seeing is believing” to some readers).

The RTDNA code, which is similar to the SPJ code, focuses more on standards concerning electronic journalism. Similarly, upon reading the codes, I found many that are just as easily followed and broken. Perhaps among the most followed of the codes include the depiction of events with regards to respect and dignity of those who have been a part of them (i.e. the use of censorship for violence captured by footage, the acknowledgement of one denying an interview upon a tragic event) and the presentation of diversity and opinions from interviewees (a reporter may interview a handful of people of various backgrounds to express varied representation for getting an audience to identify with opinions of certain people/ groups).

Although seldom, some of the codes I found some journalists/news outlets have broken include manipulating digital images in order to emphasize/deemphasize a story’s impact on viewers (I have read that some stations practice this) and having a reporter/journalist engage in an unacceptable activity (on or off- air) that undermines their role in representing the media an honest and professional source.

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