Ethical journalism?

14 Jan

I’m a journalist.  I’ve written for my high school newspaper, my own online publication, as well as The GA Voice.  I’ve reported for my high school radio station.  Many times I’ve covered delicate stories that require some degree of grace and tact.

Such grace and tact is often missing from the Athens Banner-Herald.  A historical example of this is their sensationalist bumbling of the shooting at the community theatre in Athens which took the lives of three people, including someone Jace was incredibly close to.  

A more recent example is the tale involving two 17-year-old young women who were hit and, in one case, seriously injured, by a vehicle while walking in Athens. The mother of the less-injured young woman is a friend of mine, and comments she made to the Banner-Herald, who contacted her during one of the most difficult times of her life, were misquoted and published before my friend could speak to her daughter and the parents of the other young woman, who is currently hospitalized and still dealing with a very traumatic situation.

The media has the responsibility to print news.  Sometimes they even have to print things when it is inconvenient to the subjects of the article.  The story that was originally posted earlier today by the Banner-Herald was not news.  The story has drawn considerable attention due to the ages and conditions of the young woman, and aroused a debate over pedestrian rights in Athens.  In seeking to feed off the interest in this story, the Banner-Herald published whatever they had before the story faded from people’s conscience.

These are real people, citizens of what I often refer to as “the biggest small town I’ve ever seen.”  Journalists ought to be nothing if not respectful to members of this community.

As a final aside, you’ll notice that I mention at least three separate articles in the Banner-Herald in the context of our discussion here today.  I link to none of them because doing so achieves the very thing I’m railing against — cheap journalism for cheap page views.

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2 Responses to “Ethical journalism?”

  1. Brandon Foreman January 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    You made a pretty good point. The media should do their best to inform people and inform people accurately. If it isn’t completely accurate then it is just cheap news.

  2. Angelyn January 15, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Very well written, and a great point. Perhaps you should send a copy of this to the Blunder-Herald? 😛

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