Monday, September 27, 2010

The Ethics of Journalism

What Journalism Should Be For

News satisfies a need to know what is occurring beyond our own direct experience, and give us a sense of control and security. We need news to identify friends and enemies and protect ourselves. They influence the quality of our lives.

Journalism is the System Societies Generate to Supply News

Journalism should provide independent, reliable, accurate and comprehensive information that people require to be fee and self-governed. A journalism that is asked to provide something other than that subverts our society and culture.

The ethics of journalism is seldom studied or clearly articulated. This lack of reflection has weakened journalism. If we cannot formulate an ethical theory of a free press, then journalists risk allowing their profession to disappear. If journalism dies, what would replace it? Advertising? Entertainment? Propaganda?

There are some principles that journalists should agree upon and the people should expect. They are the elements of journalism.

The Purpose of Journalism is to Provide People with Accurate Information they Need to be Free and Self-Governing

To fulfill this task:
- Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth
- Its first loyalty is to the people
- Its essence is a discipline of verification
- Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
- It must serve as an independent monitor of power
- It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
- It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant
- It must keep the news comprehensive and in proportion
- Practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience
- Citizens have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news


Kovach, B. & Rosenstiel, T. (2007). The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect.

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