Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting noteworthy news and information meeting the standard of truth and honesty in reporting. People who write journalism are referred to as journalists. The Society of Professional Journalism states that the below four principles are the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use by all people in all media:
- SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT – take responsibility for the accuracy of their work, verify information before releasing it, update and correct information, identify sources clearly, consider sources motives before promising anonymity
- MINIMIZE HARM – treat sources, subjects, colleagues, and members of the public with respect, show compassion, avoid pandering to lurid curiosity,
- ACT INDEPENDENTLY – primary obligation is to serve the public, refuse gifts, favors, special treatment that may compromise integrity or impartiality, be wary of sources offering information for favors or money, deny favored treatment of advertisers, donors or any special interest
- BE ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT – take responsibility for one’s work and explain decision to the public, acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly, expose unethical conduct in journalism including within their own organization
So you turn on the TV or radio and select a news channel. Do you actually get real unbiased news written by a real journalist or just a highly paid anchor reading the words on a teleprompter that was written by the shows producer? There is no one accountable for the accuracy of the information. Actually the station has their own agenda and skews information to their point of view (known as propaganda) in an attempt to boast ratings. As you know a station’s ratings drive advertising dollars.
Instead, you may elect to get your news from a newspaper. Who is responsible for the accuracy of the report? Was it written by a real journalist? This media has similar issues as the broadcast media. The only credible newspaper that seems to empower their journalist is the WSJ. Other printed media appear to push information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further the agenda by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular perception (propaganda).
It is no surprise that during a 2/2018 survey only 34% of respondents in the US stated they trusted news most of the time. Compare with 58% in Canada and 49% in Mexico. At this rate the US media will shortly be in single digits tied with the performance Congress.