What are some of the main ethical concerns multimedia and mobile journalists need to keep in mind?
When performing work as a journalist, either for a media outlet or independently, online or not, acting in accordance to ethical standards is essential. If a majority of journalists did not adhere to industry wide codes of ethics as they do today, it would be impossible to maintain the level of integrity the profession does currently.
The most crucial factor for journalists is accuracy. Without accuracy, the news piece loses all its worth and can be harmful through misinformation. Fact checking is essential in a story, as is getting both sides of the story to avoid partiality. A prime example of poor fact checking and confirmation bias that lead to harmful inaccuracy is the 2014 Rolling Stone article ‘A Rape on Campus’.
Online journalists in particular should be mindful of defamation. In an era where journalism is becoming more emotional, and attracting audiences is so critical, making brash and unfounded statements can be a danger. Editing pictures in a potentially damaging way, especially without disclosing that the picture is edited, is also an ethical hurdle for journalist to be aware of as multimedia journalism becomes more prevalent.
As digital journalism is a difficult area to make a money in, transparency has become pivotal too as sponsored content becomes more common. Disclosing any personal views, conflicts of interest or paid content is vital is ensure readers can know whether they are getting an unbiased view and to create their own opinions and not those of the author.
The internet can be a great resource for journalists looking for a story, however the potential to plagiarise work is there — especially when covering the same topic. Journalists need to be aware that they always need to quote the source of their information — particularly if it comes from a piece of writing that is not their own.
Writing articles quickly has become the focus of many media corporations of late as they attempt keep up with competitors and retain market share, but ethics should not be compromised for the sake of speed and money.