The World of Media
The World of Media JRN 108
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Miss Cristian Upton on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to JRN 108 at Michigan State University taught by Michael Stamm in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see /class/207395/jrn-108-michigan-state-university in Journalism and Mass Communications at Michigan State University.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
Chapter 13 Ethics 1 Ethics In American Life a History of journalist standards i Ethical decision making 1 Making ethical decisions has been a concern of journalists since at least the early 20 h century when many reporters wanted to be among the emerging groups of professionals However attempts to determine exactly what standards of conduct and moral judgment constitute ethical behavior have resulted in a continuing debate rather than absolute standards ii As newspaper editors adopted an information model during the middle of the 20 h century 1 Information model Pattern of behavior for disseminating information as news incorporates values such as objectivity over partisanship iii Focus on individuals gave rise to new discussions about ethics 1 After 1850 however critics began to focus on the relationship between press and society and they increasingly addressed press issues iv With the rise of sensational journalism in the 1890 s critics began to focus on attributes of news 1 Fact and opinion should be separated 2 Paved the way for development ofjournalism education ethic codes b Development of standards for public relations i By the end of WWI extensive use of propaganda techniques during the war raised ethical issues for practitioners of public relations as well as for journalists 1 1923 Edward L Bernays a Crystallizing Public Opinion 2 Classical Ethics in a Modern Society a Book Media Ethics b 5 theoretical approaches i The wide variety of theoretical approaches to ethical decision making indicates how hard it is to create ethical standards that apply to all situation Some theorists argue that this is impossible that decisions must be made within a specific context Others suggest that overreaching rules can provide context within specific circumstances can be evaluated 1 The golden mean a Moderation b Operating somewhere between two extremes 2 The categorical imperative a What is right for one is right for all b Absolute ethics i A code of ethics that allows no deviation for its rules 3 The principle of utility a Decisions are made on the basis of what provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people 3 3 bl E 4 The Veil of ignorance a Justice emerges when social differentiations are eliminated in the process of negotiation 5 JudeoChristian ethic a quotdo onto others as you would have them do unto you b Treat all with respect c quotthe golden rule Political and Economic Demand for Ethical Behavior Public press educators and critics demand ethical behavior i Change as cultural norms within society change Economic demand involves several factors i m Credibility and profit 1 A measurement of how well a journalist or media organization is trusted If a high percentage of the public perceives a journalist as truthful that person has credibility 2 If people question the credibility of one network news department then they may turn to more credible network for national news 3 Credibility is an economic incentive for ethics a Credibility or a measurement of how trustworthy a journalist or media organization is considered to be is not just an ethical issue but also an economic one Some critics believe that for a news organization to remain profitable over time the public must view it as credible 4 Over a 10 month period 77 stations used VNRs from public relations firms without mentioning their source a Shown without any fact checking and sometimes without editing Ethics and Media Concentration 1 Increasing concentration of ownership of media organizations critics and the public have become more attuned to the possibilities and effects of unethical behavior Impact on other industries 1 New stories affect not only readers but the subjects they cover they can affect an industry s credibility or a company s profits they can affect the amount of government attention an industry gets 2 One of the problems lies in the sources reporters use Basic Ethical Standards in US Media 1 Fundamental ethical standards a Although most individuals and groups agree on a few fundamental ethical standards they often disagree about specifics and about whether fundamental standards are met The commonly agreedon standards are accuracy fairness balance Accurate representation and truth i Accuracy 1 The recording selecting and weighing of facts to provide a truthful account ii Objectivity 1 Reporting facts without bias or prejudice including a deliberate attempt to avoid interpretation 2 One of the factors that distinguishes journalism from public relations and advertising iii Fairness and balance 1 Stories need to take into account the range of different opinions 2 Journalistic balance a Providing equal or nearly equal coverage of various points of view in a controversy 3 The more complicated the news the more difficult it is to provide balance iv Absence of Fakery 1 Posing that which is false to be true 2 Many times involves photos v Truth 1 Trying to attain truth requires accuracy fairness balance and a variety of other aspects of reporting that combine to create a picture of the quotwhole truth vi Integrity of sources 1 Reporters who become too loyal to sources risk the possibility of being blinded and missing important cues to stories viiAvoiding conflict of interest 1 Conflict of interest Along with government officials and others in positions of responsibility journalists are under pressure to avoid allowing personal activities or interest to interfere with their professional responsibilities Journalists have an obligation to strive for unbiased coverage of an even or m situation 4 Supplying Ethical Standards a E Upheld by educating professionals in moral reasoning processes that help individuals are organizations made decisions about how to handle specific situations Industry s response i Code of ethics 1 Many media organizations establish a code of ethics to standardize their employees behavior in response to events and to safeguard themselves against increased government regulation Guidelines remind employees that ethical standards are considered important to credibility profit and the good of society 2 The American Society of newspaper editors in 1923 was the first national press association to draft an official code of ethics 3 1982 the television code of good practiceruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court 4 5 An organization s code can be enforced in the same way as any other company policy Adherence to the national codes is voluntary and cannot be enforced Infomercial producers have codes of ethics ii Ombudsmen 1 A person within an organization who represents customers and investigates potentially unethical conduct of the organization and people within it 0 Critics response i By 1947 increased chain ownership fewer newspapers were independently owned 1 Today newspapers print news and editorial comment on press behavior ii News councils 1 The Hutchins Commission recommended the establishment of news councils a A committee that reviews potentially unethical activities of news organizations 2 The national news council and its role was a investigate public complaints about national news organizations 3 The vast majority of newspapers did not support the news council a Closed due to lack of money and support from the news media iii Journalism reviews 1 These publications report and analyze examples of ethical and unethical journalism a Quill American journalism review Columbia Journalism review d Moral reasoning processes for ethical decisions i Media ethics have developed various moral reasoning processes that communication professionals can use to help them make ethical decisions from a principled basis rather than by reacting intuitively 1 An ethical framework a Sissela Bok b Based on three questions designed to help all types of professionals make ethical decisions 2 Moral Reasoning model a Roy Peter Clark b Suggests that all journalists carefully examine their consciences before making deadline decisions c Five questions 3 Valuesoriented approach a Goodwin b 7 questions for successful teaching in journalism ethics and for working journalist 4 The potter box a Ralph Potter i Find out what happened ii Analyze the values iii ldentifyloyalties iv Look at the principles involved 5 Ethical situations and Dilemmas a Business and Media Content i Most media outlets are businesses and many depend a lot of advertising revenue which often creates ethical dilemmas for people who create media content r on E 39l 1 Advertising boycott a Try to persuade publishers to change their editorial stance ii Allowing advertisers to influence news and information has at least two dangers 1 For consumers 2 Media companies Freebies and Junkets i Low pay would be supplemented by perks such as gifts free meals and trips 1 Short for perquisite or payment for something in addition to salary ii Persisted well into 1990s iii Public relations is most effective when it is based on accurate and convincing information and that journalists can best act with integrity when they are not indebted to specific organizations or people Anonymous Attribution i Checkbook Journalism i Privacy vs people s need to know i Argue that some stories could not be reported without protection of anonymity Paying subjects or witnesses for information or interviews Many media professionals believe that there are times when the public s right to know takes precedence over the rights of privacy of an individual 1 An ethical and legal area of decision making The right to be protected from unwarranted intrusion by the government media or other institutions or individuals ii Sensationalism decency and good taste i Public figures are not given as much consideration as private citizens Sensationalismthe use of material to merely to shock startle or violate a person s sense of decency 1 In the 1980 s many companies went public and became vulnerable to stockholders demands for continuous high profits They found that talk shows featuring sensational topics could be produced inexpensively and garner high profits Other sensational content also seems to attract viewers and readers However media companies are also under pressure to balance the need for profit against social responsibility and a high degree of journalistic integrity 2 Can distort serious thought and debate about crucial issues ii Reporting on crime investigation and disasters can learn to sensational reporting that may harm people Direct quotations i If a quotation has to be changed it should be paraphrased using indirect or partial quotations Correction of errors i ii Newspapers are usually better than magazines TV and radio about rectifying errors When a correction is made it is usually published on an inside page not in a prominent position Fiction and Fact
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