As social media, television news, and TV in general become more popular it becomes easier to identify and no those who are reporting the news. Celebrity journalist like Chris Matthews or Anderson Cooper are becoming more and more popular in mainstream media. In fact in many cases you will actually see many journalists who are promoting themselves through their own website, Twitter, or Facebook pages. There can be both advantages and disadvantages to self-promotion within journalism.
One of the main disadvantages that can happen through self-promotion is failing to serve your base honestly and faithfully. As journalists try to promote themselves they may tend to forget their responsibility to reporting the news. For example, they may want to go after stories that are more nationally known so they can get recognition on a national stage versus serving their own community with the stories that are more relevant. Another disadvantage to promoting yourself to become a celebrity journalist might do with their sources. As journalist become more well known it might be harder for them to up team stories where people have to go on record or if they show up to a seen the police were firemen may do their best to keep that journalist out or to cover up part of the story.
I personally think probably the biggest disadvantage it serves them is whether or not they can be perceived as being genuine in their work. As journalist try to promote themselves they can come off as self-serving rather than public serving entities. Journalist trying to promote themselves often seem like they're trying to get theirs instead of actually trying to genuinely covering a story. This can lead them to being alienated from their readers.
I do think that there can't be some advantages to self-promotion in journalism. One being that the more popular they can become the more clout they can hold while covering a story. As I mentioned before sometimes this can be a disadvantage of being well-known however in some cases in my game then access to sources or leads that others might not have. For example, they might be able to get calls from businesses or politicians who are trying to get a story out in the public and would like to have somebody who is more well-known publish their story. Like any business the more you promote yourself the more connections you make more connections you make the more successful you are going to be.
I also think that it can be an advantage for journalists to be well-known because they can become more trusted in their work. Journalists were well-known usually can be more trusted because they're held to a higher standard. They have more people watching them. I think an example of this was Walter Cronkite who was the most trusted man in America. I believe as he became more famous and people listen to him more he was held to a higher standard and people trusted him more because he knew that he had eight people to serve and to make sure he got things right.
Again I think there can be both advantages and disadvantages of self-promotion within journalism. It is a fine line that they must walk in order to not alienate those they serve or to be thrill seekers within journalism. They must maintain their integrity and be able to report the news and honest and fair way. If they do that I think they would become just like a flash in a pan and not be up to sustain their celebrity like status.
The biggest problem facing journalist today is the Internet. The Internet is an ever-changing landscape that has been hard to figure out even for the most involved on the web. Things like blogs, message boards, and Twitter journalists are being drowned out by regular citizens and other sources. As regular people have more opportunities to express their opinions and to break news journalist need to find more creative ways to reach out to the people that they serve. They need to adapt to changing times by aggressively thinking of ways that they can stand out. I think one way they can do this is by marking themselves through social media platforms. Journalists have opportunities now to give their readers more insight as to how they develop stories and where they're coming from when writing stories. This can help build more of a whale fan base and allow readers to get to know the journalist more personally. It seems that early on journalist tried to fight the new media that has been being developed for several years now, but what they need to do is to engage it and figure out how to use it to their advantage.
The Internet has also proved to create an additional problem of connecting with younger readers. It seems like more and more younger people have stopped reading newspapers or stopped following important news to them and are more attracted to celebrity or reality television. I think one of the main issues is that journalist's writing can often times be stuffy and hard to understand. If they would like to retract younger readers they need to figure out how to write for them. For example, using easy-to-understand language, or using metaphors that younger people can relate to. I think to often newspapers sound elitist and they become hard to follow and not engaging enough of their audience.
Finally, I think another reason why journalism is struggling is because everything has become sensationalized. There seems to be an operative in the media to overblow or to quantify everything immediately instead of letting it simmer and action seeing the true impact. Because journalists tend to overblow everything they are sometimes not only get it wrong, but seem to have bias, or seem to miss the mark and it becomes hard to trust or enjoy listening to the news. I believe if the media took more of a step back instead of trying to find instant reaction it would become easier to rely on the media for the reports and easier to trust them. Much of this comes from the fact that there is high competition within reporting. However, I think as journalist do a better job of covering the news instead of trying to be the fastest to cover the news people will be more willing to follow that particular reporter or news outlet rather than getting sensationalized news even though it's fast.
At its root journalism is a way to spread democracy throughout a community. Journalists create opportunities for public discussion by supplying people with facts and news and letting them make their own opinion or their own choices in different matters around their community.
Most citizens do not have the time or resources to be able to understand every little thing going on around them. Whether it is an upcoming election, a new building being built that may cause issues, or even as small as the local high school football team recap, journalism helps provide the information to us in order to make informed and educated decisions. Without journalism we wouldn't know which candidate we think best represents our ideals or if the new building might effect me, and if so what actions I can take to hopefully prevent it from happening. It allows us to take an active role in the communities we live in.
Journalism also provides for public discussion to happen. It encourages people to talk about the issues confronting them in bars and at dinner. With most newspapers it also affords regular citizens to express their views and opinions on different matters. Without public discussion then we would never know the impact of the different issues. While one side may say that a new building in the community might be good for business and be a beautiful monument to the city the other side may talk about the environmental impact and overall well being of having a monstrous building casting a shadow over the home. Without journalism there would be no vessel to facilitate these discussions. We wouldn't have a chance to learn more about things and to challenge ideas that may arise.
I don't think in most cases there is a right or wrong answer, but I do think it is important that everyone has a voice. Journalists first responsibility is to the citizens and to be a "voice to the voiceless". If they are representing them then it should provide a place where our opinions can be represented and told, which is exactly what democracy is. Not being told what to do or what to think. It is having the power to be informed and to think for one's self.
In, The mind of a Journalist, the author, Jim Willis, goes into great detail about the role that faith plays within journalism and journalists personal lives. He points out there is and overall idea that journalists are devoid of beliefs because they should be detached in order to effectively cover stories and avoid any biases. However Willis does go to great lengths to show that there is a place for religious beliefs and still remain to be a great journalist.
I agree with Willis' assessment that you can hold deep religious convictions and still remain objective in covering different stories. As journalists we live by the motto of verification and not assertion. Journalists are there to describe events and report an accurate of portrayal of the news. Journalists for the most part should not be inserting opinions into their writing. Also as your responsibility to the reader you should be able to cover all of the facts and let them decide what might be right or wrong, or what side they stand on. I do not feel that there is a place for journalists to share their beliefs int he stories they cover.
If they do come across stories that involve religion then they need to check those at the door and again stick to the main stories and the facts that are there. I think Willis points another good example that we should allow the subjects of the story to explain their views their own way rather than trying to tell the readers about it through our own most likely distorted goggles. As long as journalists remember that they are not their to extol their faith and to supply their readers with facts then I do think it is very possible to still believe in a higher power, or not, and be a great journalist.
As a journalists in many cases it is important to stay neutral in your covering of the different issues that may arise in the community. However, I think it is humanly impossible for any journalists to totally separate themselves from the stories they cover. Mainly because I think it is also vital to be engaged in the community and events that you are involved in to give your readers a better understanding and perception, and being able to understand your readers. What journalists need to recognize is how to separate their feelings and ideals from being able to cover a story. Journalists need to have the foresight to recoginize if their personal feeling are comprimising their ability to fairly cover a story.
As we learned about in previous chapters journalists need to not just report the facts, but the truth about the facts. I think this can go a long way to helping journalists not letting their biases enter their reporting. It is easy to put facts down on a paper that support your argument or your story, but it can be hard if the context of those facts doesn't support your argument. For example I could say that BYU was a better team than Utah because they had a better record. The fact about the record is true, but that doesn't account for the quality of opponents that each of them played which may be a better barometer to measure which team was better.
If journalists feel strongly about different subject then they should refrain from reporting on them. They should ask for different beats or stories to cover. Journalists should understand that their first loyalty should be to the people they serve and then to the truth, and not various causes that they support. There will be some cases that it is obvious to take sides like murder or child molestation. Some things are bad and are universally known to be bad. When it comes to covering social issues though is when the journalists needs to refrain from letting their biases or opinions affect the way they cover the news.
I use the word try because often times journalists are not going to get all of the facts, or desired material they need to write a story. Even if they do not have all the facts they are still pressed against a deadline and need to write the story. Journalists job is too inform the readers. Journalists shouldn't guess or make things up about a story so that it sounds more interesting, or provides more detail. It is the journalists job to provide the detail that they have and let the reader decide the rest.
2. Journalists Work for the People
I do think this is an ethical issue within journalism. As the reporting industry become more competitive and the bottom line is stressed even more journalists could lose sight of who they actually work for. Although the paper may be cutting the checks they actually do work for the people. This is important for journalists to remember because if you are working for the bottom line it can be easy to sensationalize stories, or maybe even exclude stories of facts because it may hurt your reputation with advertisers.
3. Do not Deceive
This ties into the first rule, but is a bit different. Journalists see a lot of things going on in the world more so than an average person. They are probably able to see generalities or common issues throughout the entire world. Journalists like any human can also become attached, or moved, by the things they witness each day. Journalists should not fabricate stories to illustrate issues or problems that will then motivate the public to take action. Even if what they are saying may be true they should have real sources and real subjects that they write about.
4. Show Compassion
It seems that sometimes journalists will do anything to get a story, even if it means envading others private life. Part of a journalists job is to cover tragedy. Journalists need to show restraint and compassion for those they are writing stories on in their darker hours. This year Junior Seau, a professional football player, passed away, and the press was relentless with his family to get a story or quote from them. It seemed that they wouldn't let them mourn for their loss in peace. Also it may not be wise to run stories that may affect others like in the Penn State sacndal and those victims and families who were hurt by the actions of an evil man.
5. Journalism is the Star not the Journalists
Journalists shouldn't be seeking to get their own gain of noteriety from the pieces that they write. they should try to remove themself from the story as much as possible. They shouldn't use their influence in the public for their own gain no matter what.