Skip to content

Week 9 – Moral Minefield: Legal and Ethical Dilemma

From today seminar about legal practices and ethics in Journalism, I found a point that really catches my attention – that there is no such thing as “Journalism law”, but there is principles of journalistic codes of ethics which are designed to assist journalists in dealing with ethical dilemmas (for example when dealing with crime committed by a relative or from a higher status, juveniles crime, or freedom of political expression ). The code of ethics are there to provide journalists with a framework for self monitoring and self correction, which is very true and fair.

Journalism Code of Ethics in Singapore


Because laws and legal defences are different between nations, journalists shall hold to their code of ethics (or integrity) strongly to avoid them to fall into a problem. Further since ethics are planted in within individual, it also aids them to not to breach the legal system (such as; law of defamation, or the Copyright law).

However, I’m not saying that that there are no laws concerning of journalist. In fact there are about 5 laws that hinder or help the work of a journalist, for example: the law of Defamation, Court reporting, contempt of court and parliament, freedom of information, intellectual property.

Bibliography:

Code of Ethics of Various Journalists’ Unions in Asia, n.d., medialaw, viewed 5 July 2011, <http://www.medialaw.com.sg/ethics/jcode.htm&gt;

Week 8 – Truth & Subjectivity: Post Modern Casualties or Victims of PR Piracy?

Journalists and PR practitioners both rely on each other because of the symbiotic relationship that both have. Journalists nowadays are expected to publish more stories in less time, especially in this competitive market. And one way to get this substantial amount of stories is from public relations practitioners, through their Press release submissions. In a survey conducted by Franklin & William, they found that 92% of the respondents said they use more PR material than they used to. 80% said they use more agency copy (PR VS Journalism, 2007). An executive from an ad agency J.Walter Thompson reckons 60% of the New York Time’s stories come from PR. And we all know now that when a PR practitioner writes something, it is always to protect the interest of the organization that they are working with. This gave rise to the questions ‘is absolute truth really possible?’ and whether journalist today can still be trusted.

In answering the question, the group brings about a good point. In order to stray away from biasness, it is always good to ‘check and balance’. A story would have been credible if there is a justification from an expert. They also recommend the readers not to believe anything you hear or read until it has been verified by the most authoritative sources possible.

References:

Monck, A, 2007, PR VS Journalism, viewed 29 June 2011, <http://adrianmonck.com/2007/03/pr-vs-journalism/>

Xue, W & Guo, L, 2011, Truth & Objectivity: Post Modern Casualties or Victims of PR Piracy?, PSB Academy, 28 June 2011.

Week 7 – PRIVACY: Where do you get it? “I’m a celebrity too…”

Today’s seminar has allowed me to know more about the public’s right to know, needs to know, and wants to know. And that is exactly what I will talk about in today’s entry.

First of all, a senior journalist once said that “we are now in a world in which peephole journalism will print anything – true or false, that is said by anyone – sick or otherwise, on the grounds that the subject is a public figure and therefore the public has a “right to know”? what sort of “right” is this?” (McNair, 2009)

This is perhaps what led to the breach of privacy of certain public figures. Sometimes, journalists and reporters try so hard to gain news that is juicy and thus attracts people’s attention, in order to compete in a commercial prospect. An example of this can be seen in the photo of Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, two ‘Disney’ sweethearts, in a sex shop in LA. It just leaked unto the Internet by a person who met them at the store and purposely asked to take a picture of them. But of course they wouldn’t agree that if it was to create a sensational story and that being a ‘Disney’ figure and an adult are two different things. This shows that journalists like to post something in order to receive much attention, even though it means going into someone’s private life. Secondly, the Gawker Stalker, also got into the spotlight because of their celebrities ‘stalking’ activities, which was then insulted in a Jimmy Kimmel interview.

Going back to the first point – the differences between public’s right to know, needs to know, and wants to know. ‘The right to know” always refer to those that affect public’s life directly, such as crime committed by a legal authority. “Need to know” is something that may ‘somehow’ affect your life if you are not informed of it; such as the follow-up story about the crime and their potential second attempt. Interestingly and expectedly, what public “wants to know” is the least important among the three, but yet receives much attention. An example of this maybe; the scrutiny of crime committer daily activities, and those mentioned in the 3rd paragraph.

To conclude, these categories perhaps act as a good filter of information for professional journalists that’s going to run/write their story.

Reference:

McNair, B, 2009, News and Journalism in the UK, Routledge, Oxon.

Week 6 – Journalism and it’s negotiation of online, the blogosphere and social media

Journalist can be defined as “an intermediary between the people who want to know about the information and the sources of information…at the same the journalist is a filter of information” (Peter Cave in Tapsall & Varley 2001). Initially in the era where Internet has not penetrated into many cities, people rely heavily on the journalist, and the news written by them are often deemed as most accurate. However now with the ease of technology, there are many “medium” between the source of information and the public.

The current trend is that everyone is a journalist in their own world. Be it in blogs or micro-blog (like Twitter and facebook) people, like us, can easily update the news in real-time without being edited.

However do you think that Bloggers should be considered as Journalist? And what are the challenges that technology bring to journalist?

News should always be checked and balance. Like a senior journalist once said “As a journalist, you need to remember one word – attribution”. Seldom ‘news’ written by ordinary people, or even journalist themselves, mentioned about the sources of information that they use to write their blogs (or micro blogs). This is perhaps what makes it less credible with the mainstream media.

What BBC does to make use of technology to tap resources from audience for their online publication.

Moreover, because bloggers and people like us, as human beings, we tend to have our certain level of biasness towards something. But isn’t it something that Journalist should avoid; personal opinion? That’s why online-published news should not be taken for primary source of information and newspaper editors should always proof-read before an article published in the public. Even though it seems right for the person who writes it, it may not be appropriate for majority audience.

While social network will only provide us with news flash, and cater to specific group of people, Newspaper editors should see the blogosphere as the next generation of knowledgable, clever, engaged political commentators that may have different view from the increasingly “presidential” narratives of the mainstream media (Wilson, Bruns, and Saunders, 2011).

Click here to read the full article from abc concerning the relationship between mainstream media and citizen-led media.Who’s Afraid of the MSM?

References:

Tapsall, S & Varley, C 2001, Journalism Theory in Practice, Oxford University Press, Australia.

Wilson,  J, Bruns, A & Saunders, B 2011, Who’s afraid of the MSM?, accessed 5 June 2011, <   http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007.09/27/2045115.htm&gt;.


week 5 – Globalisation Vs. Localisation

Globalisation of news are unavoidable, worlds are getting smaller thanks to technology. Thus How do you think globalization will evolve journalism in the next decade? How has globalization transformed the media and its audiences?

First of all, constant advancements in technology has made possible for global transmission of information. From traditional media to new media, changes in technology have gave birth to the various modes of media in which media practitioners are able to reach out to their public (Morris & Ogan, 1996). It allows media practitioners to effectively transmit pertinent information to people around the world, through the use of various modes of media to target the different groups of audience (El-Nawawy & Powers, 2008).

For example Forums and social networking sites as a platform to attract youths; because since many countries still prohibit their citizen to express their views legally, Networking has been significant for these youth, as many who feel isolated have come to find relief in these virtual communities, as well as a place where they establish their own presence and express themselves (IslamToday, 2009).

People are also starting to recognize the New Media’s ability to lend a voice to suppressed nations. Example the case of NEDA; a woman who is shot by an Iranian regime during a street presidential protest in Tehran, was caught by camera by one normal citizen and quickly uploaded it online. Within hours the video has been viewed by millions of people in many nations and attracted many supporters for justice and against the presidential gov.

Furthermore, Even the anti-globalisation are using the new media in their campaign as it is the fastest way to reach the world population. More and more normal people are involved in journalism, which de-emphasising the role of traditional Journalist today.

Thus it is true that globalisation of news has open up many people’s eye and providing different point of views of a story (from the journalist point of view, American’s, youths, to the Russian perspective by Russia Today). These are all example on how globalisation of news has resulted in localization of news, because it is apparent that though news has been transmitted from one country to another, journalist will always have to localized their story to suit local languages, style, and culture. And we all know now that audiences are also heavily involved in today’s media.

So what do you think of this trend whereby everyone can contribute in news producing? Do you think that this will help native people in their understanding, or whether this has contributed to the loss of quality standard of news itself and thus there is a de-emphasizing of the role of journalist as “filter of information”?

References:

El-Nawawy, M & Powers, S, 2008, Mediating Conflict: Al-Jazeera English and the Possiblity of Conciliatory Media, Figueroa Press, Los Angeles.

IslamToday, 2009, ISLAM, YOUTH & NEW MEDIA, University of California, Berkeley, viewed 1 June 2011, <http://islamtoday.berkeley.edu/Program_IslamYouth_and_NewMedia>

Morris, M & Ogan, C, 1996, The Internet as Mass Medium, Journal of Communication, 46, pp. 39–50.

Tapsall, S, 2001, ‘The Media is the Message’, Journalism: Theory in Practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 235-253.

YouTube, 2010, Neda, viewed 1 June 2011, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXN_yCSbUYk>

Week 4 – Who pay for Journalism, is it all about the money?

We all need money to do our businesses, whether it is a commercial company or Non-profit organisation. Likewise, media companies need a lot of money to run a story – from the journalists’ payroll to the distribution of the story itself. It is almost impossible to sell a story without the help and support of funding sources, such as advertisers and/or government subsidy.

However, with the rapid growth of people switching to online news subscription, this has also changed the advertisers to go online rather than traditional (Schultz, 2008).  Some of the main reasons are perhaps the declining traditional media’s consumption and audience levels (eMarketer, 2009), the convenience that online news provide and the amount of news covered in mainstream media. With Internet mobile phones, people now can easily access the news from their mobile at anytime anywhere.

Moreover, audiences are aware that the media has been bombarding the audience with claims and counter-claims from political and other vested-interest groups, leaving the community with a poor understanding about what choices ‘the little people’ can make to influence public life (Romano & Hippocrates, 2001, p.166). Advertisers can easily proposed the editor to publish an advertorial story in exchange for money. This is especially true in news company like FOX news or the Straits Times, or any other media corporation where advertisers and government hold a dominant force in the business. They can use the media to convey certain messages and/or to sell their products. In one case of Today paper where they write an article to start saving when you’re young, but is eventually turned out that POSBank was involved in the article. And as we all know, The Straits Times and MediaCorp are still heavily controlled by the ruling government, which also indirectly affect the way they write their stories.

However, in my opinion, journalism is not only about the money, but also about credibility and objectivity of the writing, which contribute to the channel’s reputation. News’ function is to report fairly without personal comments and should not propagated by the government and/or their relationship with their advertisers. This will affect its reliability and People might simply switch to other news channel if they soon realize that the news program that they are watching/reading are being corrupted.

Reference:

eMarketer.com, 2009, Media Used by US Internet Users, 2006-2008 (% of respondents), viewed 24 May 2011, <http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1006892>

Romano, A & Hippocrates, C, 2001, ‘Putting the public back to journalism’, Journalism: Theory in Practice, Oxford University Press, Australia, pp. 166-185.

Schultz, J, 2008, Traditional Media v.s. New Media, viewed 24 May 2011, <http://www.versantsolutions.com/share/blogs/?id=2147483820>

Week 3 – Citizen Journalism

For some, Internet has been an integral part of our everyday life because it is apparent that not only we need them to find resources for our academic essays and communicate with each other, Internet has been used to keep us updated with (local and international) news affecting us in a much faster pace. The need for a faster news updates, the easy access to the Internet, followed by the need for citizen to voice out their opinion on social issues have contributed to the rise of ‘citizen journalism’. Like what the name suggests, it is news written by almost everyone in the world regardless of their position or skills, turning them not only to be a message receiver, but also to be a sender, especially now with the availability of free web hosts and YouTube (Chiang, 2003).

With the advancement of technology, with just a click away, people can publish something from one end of the world and received internationally by everyone at the other end, as long as they have an internet connection. In local context, for example, citizen journalism has received  much public acceptance, from (the most reliable) social-political blogs, such as the Online citizen and Temasek Review, to (the facetious), such as STOMP by SPH.

This raises problem such as credibility, since to write something online, people do not need to have a special talent or gifts. In fact, everyone is welcomed to create their own blog through free web hosting, such as Blogspot and WordPress.

Some also believed that this era or ‘citizen journalism’ will threaten the future role of traditional journalists. However, this might as well only occur in certain countries where technology advancement are in the first priority and also for people who do not have the time to read through the long elaboration of news in mainstream media. This is especially true for a country like Singapore, but not in Indonesia since online journalism only popular to some extent. There are two most possible reasons on why citizen journalism are not popular in Indonesia: First, Internet has not penetrate into all cities and province of Indonesia. Secondly, Television is still Indonesia’s dominant medium of news source (BBC, 2011).

Thus, It is apparent that though online news bring more freedom to citizen who want to voice out their opinion about certain issues without the interference of the government, the traditional media will not losses it appeal, especially by those who seek credibility and fairness in media (however we know now that traditional media may also have certain biasness in terms of serving the powerful societal needs which may come from its major funding sources (Herman & Chomksy, 2002)).

Reference:

Chiang, C-H, 2003, Community websites study: A Uses and Gratification research, URN: etd-0830104-035546.

Herman, E S, Chomsky, N, 2002, ‘Introduction’, Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media, Pantheon Books, New York, pp. 11-58.

BBC, 2011, Indonesia country profile, viewed 21 May 2011, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1260544.stm&gt;