April 20, 2011
Journalistic ethics are the guidelines created which assists journalists in deciding what the right thing to do is. These moral principles of professional conduct ultimately make the journalist more aware and concerned, and yet it still allows the journalist to hold on to a sense of freedom their writing. The power of the press is one of the basic foundations of democracy promoting and safeguarding its core values. The following paper will discuss in detail an ethical code of conduct for a fictional TV news station called WFUN. The essay will include discussions regarding some of the most important ethical standards including; seeking the truth, remaining objective and non-bias, public trust, integrity, and freedom. The press plays a pivotal role in society and its influence for exceeds mere entertainment value, and it is the foundation of any democratic society. The ethical standards of journalism, for the most part, are self-enforced by the news media individual that allows them certain standards which they can judge actions to be right or wrong, bad or good, responsible or irresponsible. This is an extension of the morality of the journalist which forces them to consider their basic principles, values, and their obligations to themselves and others. Journalists have the power to hurt, rather than help the freedom of its citizens. With that being said, journalists have a duty to self and others and they are not simply writing for others, but they are writing for self-expression complete with truth and ethics. The biggest concern for ethics is it forces the journalist to commitment and to thoughtful decision making which will heighten their authenticity as a journalist. Journalism, whether print or TV, is all about providing citizens with accurate and complete information regarding social or political events. Their aim must remain selfless and sacred in order to educate the public on these meaningful and weighty measures. Additionally, journalists must guard against unnecessary or needless deception and to fully understand the special needs of the public. At times, the news media are ethically forced by procedure which results in journalists asserting power inappropriately and giving up moral standards all together. With that being said, the code of ethical conduct facing the journalists at WFUN must start the Society of Professional Journalists “code of ethics” preamble. Dale Jacquette (2007) writes: Members of the society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice (p. 282). The First Amendment of the Constitution suggests free speech and free press are the cornerstones of our nation. Journalists must strive to protect these freedoms and report independently and accurately. The news reporters at WFUN must remember their first priority is to the public. They must seek the truth, report it fairly and with integrity, and remain accountable for the words or actions. This will allow the public to develop trust and credibility towards WFUN. Even in diverse communities, these ethical codes must guard against oversimplifying the issues or events. This will allow the general public to make meaningful and cerebral decisions regarding the news broadcast. Public trust cannot be compromised at any point and the journalists must make sure the public’s business or needs are conducted in public. The first important...