Week 9 - Moral minefields: legal and ethical dilemma  

Posted by Valinka in ,

1. Journalism Theory in Practice by Suellen Tapsall & Carolyn Varley
Ch 13
2. Online Newsgathering Research and Reporting for Journalism by Stephen Quinn & Stephen Lamble
Ch 10 Computer-Assisted Research and the law

A picture says a thousand words. So perhaps I open this post with the following picture to summarize the whole topic of presentation for today:

Source: 3QuarksDaily

This picture is the comical version of the famously controversial picture of a Sudanese who was waited on by a vulture, by Kevin Carter.

Ethically, one may ask, shouldn't the photographer save the cake? Or in this case, the child? Well, it is of journalism unwritten ethics that journalists should not interfere what's going on around them. Imagine if a journalist goes to a war zone and tries to save every soldier being shot. That is not the responsibility of a journalist. A journalist merely need to gain the information and pass it to the world; that is the ethic.

Another lesson on ethics is that journalists should check their facts and be objective. In other words, we should never judge people, especially when we don't know the real situation. What really went on during the photograph taken by Carter was, the parents of the child were there, taking food from UN feeding center. Right after Carter took the picture, the vulture flew away.

On other note, Kevin Carter should have not killed himself at all. He should have been proud of himself: He opened the eyes of the other half of the world who'd filled with consumerism and commercialism.

Week 8 - Truth & objectivity: Post modern casualties or victims of PR piracy?  

Posted by Valinka


1. Journalism Theory in Practice by Suellen Tapsall & Carolyn Varley
Ch 6 & Ch 7 

2. Flat Earth News ^ by Nick Davies
Ch 3 The Suppliers

About two weeks ago, tech giant Apple launched a new version of its much-applaused editing software, Final Cut Pro X. The title of its press release read:
"Apple Revolutionizes Video Editing With Final Cut Pro X"

Within one day, however, journalists all over the internet published disagreements from Apple users who think that there's nothing revolutionary about this US$300 software.

This extreme example shows that there is no question on whether journalists should take for granted the information provided by Public Relations practitioners. It is journalists' job to dig more information from various sources.

One thing that I learn, both in life and in my journalistic studies, do not assume. As human, it is easy to fall into assumption, but when we assume the role of messenger, we have to always check and double check the facts.

Personally, I think the argument is simple: truth is always objective and presenting the truth without any additional information is always an act of objectivity. Maybe the complication comes when it comes to what sells. Readers don't want "the truth", they want "what's controversial". Perhaps that is why 'journalists' today have dilemma in their job.

Week 7 - Privacy: Where do you get it?  

Posted by Valinka

Journalism Theory in Practice by Suellen Tapsall & Carolyn Varley

Ch 12

So, another controversy in the realm of journalism: privacy. Be it the privacy of a public figure or the privacy of the internet users.

Well, for me, the information that we put on the internet is our own responsibility. Like my brother who's a paranoid (cos he's a programmer and knows all kind of things hackers do), he doesn't sign-up for any networking sites but for Facebook and even in Facebook he doesn't put many information. He still uses Facebook to comment and interact alright, but no information is disclosed. He's safe should his boss (or future gf) tries to Google him.

So, information put on the internet is really the choice of the users.

While for the question of privacy infringement by journalists, I also think that it is not the journalists' fault or responsibility. Journalists live to find information. As soon as you expose yourself to public's interest, you should be ready to be followed by journalists or their evil twin, the paparazzi.

Everything comes with a price tag; what's written on the price tag of fame is loss of privacy.

If we talk about public interest, we have to understand first, is it the "interest" as in the well-being or "interest" as in the curiosity of the public?
The presenting group asked a good question: how do we distinguish among what the public has the right to know, needs to know, or want to know?

Of course, any news that might affect the well-being of the public, or their surroundings, should be informed to them. But journalists should not just satiate public's curiosity with any random news about someone (celebrity gossips, for example).

The presenting group brought up an interesting example of in-between case. Like inspirational story, should journalists publish it if it could bring back trauma to the person(s) involved? I say, if it's inspiring other people, why not? However, the key is, the publisher (or publishing party) must obtain permission from the person(s) involved. If the person(s) was informed first, there should be no shock that could bring back the trauma experienced.