Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Responsible & Quality Journalism: Broken Down

Ethics and principles form a very important part of any activity which we do daily. Same with the job of Journalism. There are specific rules and standards which the journalists are required to follow. It is not compulsory to do so but following them brings a certain flair, sense of responsibility and respect to the job done.

The basic codes for elements for responsible journalism include the principles of Truthfulness,Accuracy, Objectivity, Impartiality, Fairness and Public Accountability.

Who is a journalist? This is a good question. A journalist can be anyone. But at the same time, simply opening your camera and taking a photo, sharing it and calling it journalism isn’t fair to the term ‘Journalism’. Being a journalist has more to it than just sharing stuff online. There has to be a sense of responsibility and code to the job. The interest of the public has to the foremost thing to be considered while reporting. Because that’s what a journalist does. Reports about the happenings, events, issues of the outside world to the general public who can’t all take a first-hand look at it.

There is this problem with modern journalism which is media bias. Especially in the political issues, media bias exists to a large extent and a lack of neutral reporting is felt. But this is just one of the major problems. Some other notable problems that the readers face regarding Journalism practices are the lack of accuracy in providing the facts, poor investigating methods, planting propagandas in favour of parties, etc.

Keeping this in mind here are certain elements of Responsible& Quality Journalism which are imperative to be followed:

1. SEEK THE TRUTH: The accuracy of the facts mentioned is the most important thing in a news report or any other report for that matter. The reader is referring to the report for a reason and for that particular reason the facts have to be absolutely true and the reporter cannot compromise the accuracy of the facts for any reason as tweaking the facts for the organization’s or the reporter’s welfare is totally unethical and illegal in many matters. There has to be a certain discipline in which the reporter finds the facts and investigates the matter at hand.

2. NEUTRALITY: When the reporter reports a fact it is not a story that he has to plant in the readers’ mind. The happenings are true events and tweaking the facts in favour of any party just to influence the thinking of the readers is wrong on many levels. The motto here is simple: DON’T TAKE SIDES, BE FAIR.

3. KNOW THE BACKGROUND: Simply reporting a particular event first-hand without having any background information about the event or the people involved in the event just makes the reporter blindsided to the many facets of the event, eventually leading to the loss of accuracy. Background research and knowledge is of utmost importance.

4. CITIZENS-FIRST: While reporting the priority is to report or write about something in such a way that the actual information reaches the citizen and nothing is mixed in the story to make it more attractive. Again, UNETHICAL.

5. MEASURING EVENT IMPORTANCE: So many things happening out there. Some are important, some aren’t. But it is not for the organization to decide. They need to know what the public deems important and report it in a manner that they don’t lose track of what is important.

6. NO PLAGIARISM: The most important aspect of quality journalism is the originality. Under no circumstances is any journalist supposed to plagiarize. Originality is key to success and being the difference. Also, it is illegal, so originality is necessary.

There are many other codes that journalists need to follow but these are some of the very important ones which make the difference. The credibility of journalists has fallen down tremendously in the past years. Following a set code of conduct and ethical journalism may bring back the glory for this wonderful profession.

Written by Anand JC
Reader. Writer. Teacher. Preacher. Occasional Exerciser. Master Procrastinator ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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