The very first part of the Society of Professional Journalist’s code of ethics is “Seek Truth and Report It.” This shows how important it is to journalists to tell the truth. In class this week we discussed truth in journalism and how to determine what the truth is. It is not an easy question – truth may be hard to extract in gray areas like, in the example given in class, the reason why a football team lost.
Yet journalists have to tell the truth. They have in the past, and as they haven’t dropped that part from the code of ethics I assume they will continue trying to tell the truth in the future. But maybe not. I found a video clip of journalists talking about modern news and if it’s still necessary to tell the truth in a modern age where people have become more skeptical of what they hear. If people are more skeptical, does that mean journalists can express their own opinions more? Or should journalists try to tell the truth because people are not as skeptical as they seem.
There’s actually a Center for News Literacy now to help people judge whether or not the news they’re receiving is the truth. I think that’s sad. News is a public service that gives people the information they need to be self-governing. If people can’t trust journalists to serve them true news, then they either can’t govern themselves correctly or they have to find truth through other means. Which is bad news for those people (journalists) who get paid to tell the truth.
In the video one person mentioned that modern news can be verified or contradicted by blogs and other electronic postings. If journalists do not tell the truth, the world will know. And they will know fast.