The internet has given us immense power and opportunity. With the click of a mouse and taps off a keyboard we can communicate across the nation to millions. Knowingly or unknowingly sharing are ideas, opinions and values to the world. This power and opportunity, freely given to every, has severely changed are media. It has changed how we receive and send information. Quantity of information on the inter-webs has spiked growing to such a point so the ethics that once upheld the integrity of our media is being crushed under the weight of it all. After listening to are podcast list.“The Moral Dilemma of Advertising”, “Paul Levinson on Digital McLuhan” and reviewing “Project Censored Stories” as well as “Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics.” topic stood out to me and sparked my interest.
With this open free access for everyone to add to media it raises an issue. We have to understand that it gives power to the good and the bad. Things created for good will always be twisted to used for moral wrong . Examples of this abuse of on-line power can be see in; the rise of child prostitution, both physically and cyber-bullying, and the abuse of personally privacy. If are culture is morally changing and sliding away from humanity. We will see this reflected blogs, social media, self-advertising sites and other forms public media.
How did we solve this issue? Do we restrict media access to the public? Censor news sources? Pick and choose what people see and hear. Don’t get me wrong, I am not Pro-Communist and think we should filter all forms of media. Putting the government the in a position of morality police is not the answer. If we do the issue will still remain. It would just shift to another outlet becoming harder to see and harder to stop. This would be like plugging one hole in a failing dam so to say. We have come to a point were the Journalist code of Ethics is not enough to uphold myriad of sources of today’s media. The media sources have changed and outgrown the code of one simple group alone.
It is the HUMAN stewardship of today’s media (i.e Backpage.com, self-advertising sites, social media )that make them evolve into what they are today. If we do not take the responsibility to stand on our own moral code and standards in life. Then we will continue to see sliding degrade both in the media and culturally.
A shift has happened! Something drastic has changed. An element that will for ever change the view of the everyday American. The media has changed. After listening to both “People in Holes” and “You Decide, We Report” by On the Media It is seen that these ethics that once were the base of the media have crumbled. They are being seduced by the bottom line of numbers of views, verse the integrity of the information they are spreading.
The media use to place where everyone would turn to find information on what was going on in the world. People knew when they opened a paper or heard breaking news on the radio that it was something they needed to hear. If an event was cover by the news it meant that it affected your life in some way big or small. The news held a standard of what they would alone on air or in print. Journalist and Newscasters had a code of ethics that held them to not misinform the public and to search out the truth before speaking. The media use to be about the honesty of the reporter and the integrity of the information.
On the Media podcast “You Decide, We Report” revealed that todays media is less and less about informing. The media has been bought by todays highest currency, your clicks, views and shares. It has fallen from honest sourced information, to shallow advertising and money-making. With the making of “Search Engine Optimization”. News sources as big as the Tribune are sacrificing their ethics and standards of journalism. In a media saturated age where “70% of readers don’t get past the fist web page” They are pandering to the public eye. Watering down their real news content. Bringing us unneeded pictures of the latest and greatest fluffy dog coats all in the scheme to get to the front page of Google with the most views per day over their competitors.
Pandering is not the only way the media has fallen from its ethics.“People in Holes” podcast discussed a trend in today’s news. Wall to wall coverage 24/7 news streaming with updates every five minutes. At first glance this does not seem like a bad corse of action, but lets take a closer look. When wall to wall coverage happens on a story it leave very little time for fact checking and logical thinking. Quantity of coverage is put over quality of information When trusted sources become exhausted all that is left to report is speculation on what is happening. Speculation is someones opinion, someones guess of what is going on. It leads to a mislead audience, a misinformed society and in the worst cases, gossip leading to defamation of one or more parties. There is a fine line between informing the public and exploiting a story.
With the age of the blogger gives everyone the ability to be an information source. “Sue You” a podcast by On the Media touched on this topic. This leaves us with a lot opinions and very little facts when it comes to news. Spreading lies and gossip as news can lead to defamation cases and legal upset. Causing are courts to be flooded with case like Liskula Cohen and Rosemary Port defamation over the word “Shank”. There is much debate on this topic, but it all boils down to one thing “DON’T BE A BULLY”. Are age has empowered many to speak freely online. Sharing are thoughts and perspective on the world. We have to remember that in a way we are the media. Everything we post online is someone else’s source of news and information. We must stand behind what we say whether it be true or false. A code of conduct, an ethical guide must be followed.
Publication of media (i.e tv, newspaper, radio, internet) must be based an ethical code of right and wrong true or false. If money and views are the motivators for media, it has lost its original purpose of being an information source. And it shifts to become purely entertainment for the masses. This same code should be brought to mind every time we add to Mass Media with likes of social media. If we are not standing on a moral code ourselves how can we expect others to follow. Both mass and personal Media Ethics should be upheld and reaffirmed at all costs.