The Power of Media to Shape Beliefs
Looking at my original post from this course Blog 1: Examining Media Use and Influence I am still a strong believer that media has the power to shape our beliefs. Everyday in my personal and professional life media indirectly shapes my beliefs through social media on websites, social media networks and work related software.
Constantly I am inundated with news stories commenting on popular events. Where I think my views have changed however is now I do not believe everything that is thrown my way in the media. Throughout this course I learned that in order to be “media” literate you have to question your sources of information and you have to be able to distinguish credible and ethical writing from false news.
According to Kovach & Rosenstiel (2010) “Communication of shared knowledge and shared curiosity brought people together in larger and larger communities based on common ways of knowing. Each advance in form and efficiency was also a democratizing influence: As more people became more knowledgeable; they also became better able to question their world and the behavior of the people and institutions that directed their lives” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). I am a strong believer that if more people questioned the news they were reading everyday and didn’t think every news station was “credible” in their reporting they would make better-informed opinions on decisions. I know since taking this course I will take my time when reading and viewing news stories. I will take my time to decipher the work to determine if it is credible or not. The SPJ’s Code Ethics really provided me with a guideline of what to look for in new stories and blogs and what important steps I need to take when writing new stories or blog posts for an audience.
A Writer’s Responsibility
I am a strong believer that writers play a major role in influencing an audience. One of my favorite projects this term was deciphering a political article on Hillary Clinton and how writers use propaganda techniques to influence their audience.
When looking at the SPJ’s Code of Ethics I do believe that the “report now” “apologize later” trend that we are seeing more often by news agencies is having a negative affect on our society and it is a violation of the SPJ’s Code of Ethics. I also believe if a news reporter reports on only one side of an issue it can skew the opinion of the audience. It causes more harm to fix the information being shown today as it can reach more people faster through the advancement of technology and the Internet. In my opinion writers have the responsibility to be ethical to their readers.
Last term we were able to read the article Media Outlets Apologize After Falsely Reporting Giffords’ death. The article comments on how many media outlets had reported that Rep. Gabrielle Gifford had died after being shot in the head. In reality Gifford had not died and was in surgery the entire time the reports were shown in the media. In this scenario the writer caused harm to the family and could be viewed as “non-credible” by many readers. If a writer is not ethical it could hurt families, readers and the corporation they are writing for. If writers want to be viewed as professional and credible writers they need be to ethical, honest and transparent to their readers.
I am a strong believer that becoming “media literate” won’t entirely eliminate the potential for consumers to be influenced but it will certainly reduce it. If media literacy and ethical journalist techniques are taught to our youth and new journalists at a young age I believe the spread of false news will start to slow down. As consumers we have to be able to decipher, understand and make informed decisions on the media we are viewing and by having journalism tools at our fingertips it will help society become better informed media consumers.
Bauder, D. (2011, January 1). Media Outlets Apologize After Falsely Reporting Giffords’ Death. Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/10/media-outlets-apologize-a_n_806603.html
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to know what’s true in the age of information overload. New York: Bloomsbury.
Society of Professional Journalists improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.spj.org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/ethicscode.asp