Week 10: Media Ethics: News vs Editorials in Today’s Media

by Alena Naiden

A journalist who lacks ethics ceases to be a journalist quite soon. However, the understanding of ethics is very subjective and can’t be limited to one view. Code of ethics is a solution that allows to establish rules and bring some order to the chaos of opinions. The only question is: should this code stay immutable as Kant’s categorical imperative, or should it evolve with constantly changing journalism?

At the beginning of printing media, printers were journalists, and being opinionated didn’t obstacle them from bringing news to the audience. Later, when the code of ethics appeared, news became divided from editorials. Today, the border between these two types of journalism is becoming more and more obscure again, and, honestly, I don’t think it is a bad thing.

Everything in the area of journalism (and not only there!) is heading toward integration; some old principles need to be improved and adjusted to the new world and demand. If the audience is seeking for “tasty” and “salty” opinionated texts instead of just facts, and if the concept of the first is not something immoral we should protect the audience from, why not to answer the demand? New methods of evaluation of these opinion pieces should be made, so they don’t turn into telling bold lie or conducting the information in tasteless or obscene way. Also, there definitely will be a problem, if the media in the U.S. stays so monopolized, and opinionated news pieces become propaganda of only one point of view, but this issue is real already and needs a solution, in my opinion. Otherwise, I think holding to the old principles and dogmas is not worthy; future will come, whether we are ready or not, so it is better to keep our minds open and ready to change.

My opinion was influenced and inspired by this particular article:

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/08/why-we-need-radical-change-for-media-ethics-not-a-return-to-basics/

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