8-2 Blog: Multimedia Tools

Enhancing your Message

I am a strong believer that multimedia enhances your message at it engages your readers to your overall message. According to Smith (2013) “One way to instantly improve your blog content is to include different types of media. Not only will this make your posts more visually appealing and interesting, but it also brings on-page SEO benefits that will help your content rank in the SERPS” (Smith, 2013). multimediaIf I am viewing a news story online I get more engaged if I am able to view visual content such as a pictures, video and audio to enhance my understanding of the article. If text is only present on a website it is not as visually appealing to me compared to that of a websites full of multimedia tools. According to Smith (2013) “People unfortunately do judge a book by its cover, so it is vitally important that you add other content in your articles to grab your readers’ attention” (Smith, 2013). When keeping multimedia tools in mind however you have to be able to balance your text with your multimedia so you are not distracting your readers from your overall message.

Using Multimedia for Effectiveness

I personally think that multimedia can be effective as long as you are using it in moderation and thinking about how your media is going to be interpreted by your readers. If there is too much auditory and audio-visual presentations on a blog or website it may hinder the cognitive understanding of the content.too much In the article Multimedia Effects on Processing and Perception of Online News: A study of Picture, Audio and Video Downloads (2000) sixty undergraduate students were evaluated on their perception of news content on sites that contained text, text with pictures, audio, pictures with audio and multimedia video. In the conclusion of the study Sundar (2000) states,

“In summary, results of this study suggest that audio and video downloads on news sites tend to hinder memory for news stories but enhance memory for advertisements on the site. Furthermore, it appears that the interplay of audio and picture can have significant effects on users’ perception of the site and it’s content. The addition of pictures [however], in general, serves to exaggerate the negative evaluations caused by the presence of audio downloads” (Sundar, 2000).

After reading this article it was interesting to find that audio and video can sometimes be distracting to your audience. Pictures and text however may enhance the visual appeal and understanding of your message. In order to maintain effectiveness on a website or a blog it’s important to make sure your media adds to the message of your content and further generates the understanding of your message. A simple rule of thumb when using multimedia tools is to not go “media happy” on your website and clog your content with unnecessary media. Choose media that aligns with the effectiveness of your message.

When thinking about the effectiveness of a website or blog you also need to think about visual and hearing impairments. Not everyone may be able to view a lot of text and pictures on a website or blog. According to Smith (2013) “Recording audio posts can also make your content more accessible. People with visual impairments would really appreciate it if you made it easy for them to listen to your content” (Smith, 2013). All in all in order to make an effective website writers need to consider their audience, they need to make sure their multimedia tools align with their messages and visual/audio impairments are considered when using multimedia tools.

Multimedia Tool Effectiveness

In order to see how multimedia may affect the effectiveness of a website or blog I decided to find three different multimedia tools that could either enhance or hinder the effectiveness of a blog or website.

YouTube Video Youtube

The first tool I decided to try against media effectiveness is YouTube. YouTube is a website that allows for users to post videos on different content such as live tutorials, bands, funny videos etc. Below is a video made by ForkNPlate.com that shows a user how to make an omelet (ForkNPlate, 2013).

This video could be beneficial for someone looking to use YouTube to explain a process or tutorial by mixing audio and visual content with text. You want to make sure the video will enhance your story or blog post. In the article Add Value to Your Website, Miranda (2006) states, “In any case, it is important to be sure the added content somehow provides information that can’t be presented in any other way and that the material is compatible with a variety of browsers and platforms” (Miranda, 2006). The only thing that the writer would want to keep in mind is not to include too many video and audio clips that could be distracting to the reader, which in turn could ruin the effectiveness of the blog.

Podcasts

Podcasts allow for bloggers and web users to recreate reoccurring broadcasts of recorded interviews, narrations or radio-style talk shows. An example of a popular podcast is TED Radio Hour Show that allows for speakers to share their information on inventions, approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create (TED Radio Hour, 2015). Podcasts may be beneficial towards media effectiveness if a writer wants to provide proof of evidence of an interview or if they have regular talk shows. 4fec843a6fbceThey could also use it for those who have audio impairments. Podcasts can be created through Audacity and Garage band with a computer and microphone. By having users “subscribe” to a monthly or even weekly broadcasts this could increase the followers of your blog. I believe Podcasts can create media effectiveness but writers need to be wary not to bombard their reader with too much information in long Podcast segments so readers do not lose interest.

PowerPoint Presentations

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PowerPoint presentations can be beneficial for someone looking to describe a process, if they want to share multiple pictures or present bullet points on a selected topic. According to Smith (2013) “Many people create PowerPoint presentations when they wants to explain things in a visual way. Why not turn your presentation into a slide show and let people flick through it at their own pace” (Smith, 2013). This could help with media effectiveness with explaining complex presentations so the reader is able to understand main points of a discussion. I saw this as a great tool for media effectiveness. Below is a PowerPoint I created last semester on the role of communication and technology.

Technology

What I have gathered through using multimedia tools is that they can be effective; as long as the writer is paying attention to their overall message of their blog, making sure their media isn’t too much and it aligns with the understanding of their content.

Works Cited

How to make an Omelet. (2013, November 11). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVimr44BVwvoAJCcnnIlQ;_ylc=X1MDMTM1MTE5NTY4NwRfcgMyBGZyA3locy1tb3ppbGxhLTAwMgRncHJpZANFNV9XMmJ3Z1NZbXJITlVXczhTa21BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMyBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzMx

Miranda, J. (2006). Add Value to Your Website. American Music Teacher, 56(2), 64-65.

Smith, M. (2013, March 28). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-your-site

Sundar, S. (2000). Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, audio and video downloads. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Pg. 480. Retrieved June 17th, 2015 from http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf

TED Radio Hour. (2015). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.podcasts.com/npr_ted_radio_hour_podcast

7-2 Blog Best Practices

logo
Example Logo

After reviewing the article 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog there are few “best practices” I believe bloggers should have to follow when creating a blog to ensure that appropriate form, function and substance are accomplished. In regards to the form and style of the website there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Chelidonis (2011) there are few steps that have to be considered, “[When designing a blog a blogger must consider] the blog’s name, a professional blog theme, and a professionally designed logo” (Chelidonis, 2011). Without keeping in mind these important design elements a reader of your blog could get lost in the message you are trying to portray. You want make sure your blog is designed around your subject matter you are discussing.

The second thing you need to look at when considering your blog is the function of your blog. In order for your blog to perform well you have to be able to consider your web host to make sure they are reliable to host your content and you have to consider the amount of plugins and social media widgets you have on your blog. According to Chelidonis (2011) “Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus” (Chelidonis, 2011).

(Fakhraie, 2013)
(Fakhraie, 2013)

When considering the function of your blog you want to make sure that your links and additional plug-ins on your blog are pertinent to your topic. While social media tools do in fact draw the reader in to learning more about your topic, you do not want tons of social media tools on your blog to draw your audience away from your message you are trying to depict to your readers.

The third thing you need to consider when creating a blog is the substance of the blog. This includes the content of your blog, the source information within your blog, regularly interacting with posting in your blog and getting new content ideas (Chelidonis, 2011). You want to make sure you are spending the time to research the content of your blog and you are regularly interacting with your readers. According to Chelidonis (2011), “Blog as often as you possible can but try to have a post at least 3 times a week, do not expect to build a successful blog if you have just post once a week, blogs need content and lots of it” (Chelidonis, 2011). In my opinion if you want to consider your self a frequent blogger you need to be able to work for it. You have to show your readers that you are care about the subject you are writing about and you are considering the “best blogging practices” to make your readers want to read your blog on a weekly basis.

In the article DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013) it discusses the importance of formatting when creating your blog. The article states, “Reading long paragraphs on a screen hurts the eyes, it is laborious and time consuming in a medium known for speed…catch your readers’ attention in the first few words, start with the conclusion, follow with the details and [concentrate] on one idea per paragraph” (“Writing for the Web, 2013). In addition to keeping the form, function and substance in mind bloggers need to focus on the format of their blog posts. If it does not grab the attention of the reader and the blog has paragraphs upon paragraphs of text the reader could get bored. As long as a blogger keeps the above things in mind when creating a blog they should be successful in launching a successful blog for their readers.

World Wide Funding Blog

The website I have chosen to analyze on Best Practices for this week’s blog is World Wide Funding Blog for the United States. I have chosen to analyze this blog, as I believe the World Wide Funding Association is extremely powerful and it is one organization that I have donated to previously.

(About Us, 2015)
(About Us, 2015)

When looking at the form of the blog the blog certainly catches your eye. The blog has a catchy logo on the side of the screen, which many viewers can associate with the mission of the organization as this logo is being displayed in many other forms of media such as television commercials.

The blog is also extremely easy to navigate. At the top of the screen you are able to view information about the organization, which species they support, about the organization and how to get involved with the organization. By having easy navigation around the site this makes this easier on the reader.

WWF
(About Us, 2015)

The function of the blog proves to be easy for the reader. In addition to the main menu options that are shown at the top of the screen, the user is able to share the blog information with friends and family by using the social media tools at the bottom of the screen. I enjoyed viewing this website because all of the social media pictures, links and content were pertinent to the mission of the organization.

The substance of the blog pertains to the mission of the organization. According the WWF funding About Us page:

“[The World Wide Funding organization is the] world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature” (About Us, 2015).

All of the written blog posts pertain to conserving our environment through nature and our societies actions. I was impressed to find that each of the blog posts mixed text with the appropriate amount of media to the subject of the blog post.

Does my blog meet best practices?

When looking at my blog there is definitely some work that needs to be done. When reviewing my blog against the 12 Best Practices the form and function definitely stick out to me as areas I need to work on.

Amanda Blog

When starting this course I decided that putting tulips as my header pictures would look “pretty” and draw my audience in to my blog. In reality “tulips” have nothing to do with the substance of this blog. Since this course is all about design and substance to the readability of my audience, I should have chosen a better logo and picture that was related towards my main topic which is Knowledge in New Media. If I had chosen something aimed towards journalism and best media practices it would have aligned more with my readers.

The second thing that I think could have been improved in the content of my blog is the media to text balance ratio as well as the media plug-ins on my blog. Up until last week I really did not use a lot of media or pictures in my blog. The only form of web widgets I included was a calendar to view previous blog posts.best-practice It was mostly all text and formatted for print reading. According to the article, DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013), “If the content was written for print, chances are it’s not appropriately formatted to your website” (“Writing for the Web,” 2013). If I were to continue on with this blog after this course I would be focusing on the layout and overall mission of the site to something I was interested in writing about.

The one area where I think I have a good grasp is the overall substance of my posts. I have provided links to all of my sources in my blogs and I view this to be highly important when being a credible and honest blogger.

I personally wish there was a Code of Conduct out there for new bloggers like myself. Before taking this course I was not familiar with journalist ethics and I have learned that you really need to dig deeper to gather the evidence of your story before publishing it. As indicated in the article Food Code of Ethics Burton and Greenstein (2009) state, “People who write comments and publish their opinions should be aware that they are accountable for their actions” (Burton and Greenstein, 2009). Whether someone is writing about food, politics journal articles etc. it is important to have guidelines to be an ethical, credible and honest writer.

Works Cited

About Us. (2015). Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs

Burton, B., & Greenstein, L. (2009, April). Food Blog Code of Ethics. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/

Chelidonis, I. (2011). 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/

Fakhraie, F. (2013, June 18). Best Practices Resources for Your Social Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.brassmedia.com/best-practices-resources-for-your-social-media/

Writing for the Web. (2013). Dot Marketing Best Practices, 1-15. doi:10.4324/9780203845257

5-1 Blog Oconee County Observations

About the Author

Looking at the Oconee County Observations website the author of the blog is Lee Becker. According to the Oconee County Observations website Lee Becker has his PH.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Mass Communication, his M.A from the University of Kentucky in Communications and his B.A. from the University of Kentucky in Journalism.

On the blog it states the following about Lee Becker in regards to some of this achievements and awards:

  • The Association for Education in Journalism named [Lee Becker] the 2013 recipient of the Paul J. Deutschmann Excellence in Research Award at the association’s annual conference on Aug. 10, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
  • [Lee Becker] was given the Doctor Honoris Causa by the Senate of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration on Dec. 4, 2012, in Bucharest, Romania. The Athens Banner-Herald wrote a story about the award.

(Becker, 2015).

Do I consider Lee Becker to be a professional journalist?

I do consider Becker to be a professional journalist because of three reasons:

  1. He has multiple degrees that are focused around journalism, media and communications.
  2. He shows accountability for his content he is publishing
  3. He shows dedication to interact with his community.

Within the article 7 Signs You May Be a Professional Blogger Ashley Robinson (2015) discusses 7 things that may make someone a professional blogger. Two of them stick out to me in this article:

  • You may be a professional blogger if you spend as much time interacting with your community as you do writing content
  • You may be a professional blogger if you hold yourself accountable.

(Robinson, 2015).

Looking into the history of Becker’s posts he makes the comments of his audience public and he does occasionally comment on the posts of his audience. Becker also makes himself accountable for the content he is posting. On the blog Becker (2015) states: “ I strive to be accurate, fair and transparent. Comments are encouraged. I attempt to apply the standards of accuracy, fairness and transparency to them as well” (Becker, 2015). In my opinion these are two vital things that would make a blogger and journalist appear professional on media websites and blogs.

Oconee County Observations – Purpose and Bias

The purpose of the Oconee County Observations website is to inform others about the news and comments made in the developments of Oconee County Georgia (Becker, 2015). There may be a bias to this blog as Becker states the following to his audience, “I am a citizen of Oconee County. My experiences and aspirations for the county have influence on what I post here” (Becker, 2015). While the author does make a point to tell his audience that he strives to be accurate and transparent in his news and comments, since he is a citizen of Oconee County his information he is providing could be skewed. This could have an influence on what he is posting to his audience. What I do admire about the author however is that he cites his resources and spends the time to include links to his sources in his blog.

Does the Becker adhere to SPJ’s Code of Ethics?

As a journalist and blogger I do believe that Lee Becker adheres to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics. Becker takes the steps to verify information and tries to report information truthfully and accurately. The following codes I believe are evident within Becker’s blog:

  • Seek Truth and Report It– Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  • Be Accountable and Transparent—Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. Journalists should explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

(Society of Professional Journalists improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (n.d.)).

When viewing Becker’s blog Oconee County Observations I was impressed to find that Becker listed a link to his complete profile. When clicking on Becker’s complete profile I was able to follow a link to his webpage. When clicking on his webpage you are directed to the website Oconee County Observations II. On the webpage you are able to find source materials related to Becker’s blog Oconee County Observations. On the website Becker states the purpose of the page as the following: “This web site was created to provide materials referred to in the blog, Oconee County Observations. For more information, go to that blog” (Becker, L. (n.d.). I was impressed to find links to budget summaries, organizational charts, meeting minutes and email records. This in my opinion helps build the creditability of the journalist.

When viewing each of the blog posts I was impressed to find that Becker did not use a lot of anonymous quotes and he used the names of people making statements in his blog posts. He also provided links to videos in his blogs. An example of a video being posted would be in the blog titled A Small Truck Repair Facility is Coming to Oconee County Because of Caterpillar, Developer Told Planning Commission which was posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (Becker, 2015). Within this blog Becker includes the video of the statement being made. This is a great example of a professional journalist providing evidence to make his blog more creditable.

If someone is reporting news should they be labeled as a “professional”?

In my own opinion it should not matter whether someone is labeled as a “professional” or not when reporting news. A person can be labeled as a “professional” and have multiple degrees but that does not make them an ethical journalist when reporting news. Everyone should be held to the same ethical standards regardless of their professional classification.

In this week’s reading resources there is one quote that sticks out to me as defining a good writer. In the article E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer Popova (2012) states:

“A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. A writer has a duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they interpret life, they inform and shape life” (Popova, 2012).

As long as someone is being ethical with his or her work, they know how to write about issues from both sides and they provide their audience with source information and verification of their work this in my opinion makes a journalist.

In my opinion whether you are working for a media organization or you blog about something you are passionate about you should be required to take training in media and journalism. Blog websites should provide tutorials and trainings on how to be an ethical journalist.

Citizen Journalists and Bloggers

With the rise of the Internet and Technology being made available to more users more citizen journalists and bloggers are putting their name out there and publishing more articles for society to view. According to Barnes (2012) “Traditional journalism is the outside looking in. Citizen journalism is the inside looking out. In order to get the complete story, it helps to have both points of view” (Barnes, 2012). This is changing the way that we are able to view media and stories because it allows people to voice their opinions and change the way we receive knowledge and what we know in society outside of traditional journalism. It allows for the “voiceless” to get their opinions out there outside of the traditional news reporter.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are both advantages and disadvantages of citizen journalists and bloggers.

Some of the advantages of citizen journalism are that it allows for people to write about topics they are interested in, it allows for citizens to spread information while there are many newsroom layoffs, and it allows for citizens to feel part of their communities by participating in news they are interested in. It allows for the “voiceless” to offer an alternative perspective to online media. According to the article Using Citizens For Community Journalism D’herr and Paulussen (2013) state, “A steadily growing number of online media initiatives engage and reach local audiences. Online news media are not constrained by spatial limitations and the emergence of citizen journalism offers new opportunities to cover news on a town, neighborhood or even street level” (D’herr and Paulussen, 2013).

Some of the disadvantages of citizenship journalism is the news can be interest based, the author can be biased in their writing and the blog or news story they are writing about can be more about speaking their mind on a subject than maintaining neutrality. The facts and sources in a news story can be skewed and could contain inaccurate information.

According to the article Citizen journalism: How to encourage critical reading and viewing? Van Kooten Niekerk (2013) states,

“A huge constraint facing citizen journalism is that it is almost never neutral. People report only the items that are of interest to them. Hardly anyone posts news items because they can, but only because they feel they need to. This entails that citizen journalists are always deeply involved in the news they report – which puts pressure on its neutrality” (Van Kooten Niekerk, 2013).

Good Judgment

In my opinion a non-professional can show good judgment and assemble information for balanced stories to build credibility for their stories. As a society we should be publishing tools and resources on ethical journalism on blog websites for people to use when they publishing their stories. I do believe however that whether a journalist is traditional or a non-professional there will never be 100% neutral and non-objective new stories. It is the responsibility of the consumer to check their sources and the credibility of a story.

According to Van Kooten Niekerk (2013):

“We ought not change citizen journalists, as they have everything on their mind except a neutral report of what’s going on. We ought to focus on changing the people on the receiving end to be critical about what they read and not to believe something simply by virtue of seeing it on their screen” (Van Kooten Niekerk, 2013).

Moving forward we should be focusing our attention on educating society in classrooms on the importance of media literacy and professional journalism. This may help with reducing the spread of false information online.

Works Cited

Barnes, C. (2012, September). Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A Case for Collaboration. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-2839151391/citizen-journalism-vs-traditional-journalism-a-case

Becker, L. (n.d.). About Me. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/

Becker, L. (n.d.). Oconee County Observations II. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from https://sites.google.com/site/lbbecker48/

Becker, L. (2015, May 20). A Small Truck Repair Facility Is Coming To Oconee County Because of Caterpillar, Developer Told Planning Commission. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/2015/05/a-small-truck-repair-facility-is-coming.html#more

Paulussen, S., & D’heer, E. (2013). USING CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM. Journalism Practice, 7(5), 588-603. doi:10.1080/17512786.2012.756667

Popova, M. (2012, April 17). E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/eb-white-on-the-responsibility-and-role-of-the-writer/256005/

Robison, A. (n.d.). 7 Signs You Might be a Professional Blogger. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from http://heartifb.com/2013/04/15/7-signs-might-be-professional-blogger/

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

Van Kooten Niekerk, G. (2013). Citizen journalism: How to encourage critical reading and viewing? Media Development, 2013(1), 15-18. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from Communication and Mass Media Complete.

4-2: Blog Mistakes, False News and Errors

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 code of ethics. 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. Why not get it right the first time and spend the time investigating your sources than apologizing and spending the time to fix your mistakes?

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. Bauder (2011) states:

“Within a half hour, all three cable news networks had bannered the headline of Giffords’ supposed death. Reuters cited NPR in a story that appeared on the front of the Yahoo! News site. CBS broke into the coverage of a women’s college basketball game to report that Giffords had died. NBC had a similar special report” (Bauder, 2011).

Instead of checking their sources and the hospital in which Gifford was staying the media outlets relied on each other for information. They cared more about being the “fastest” when reporting the news. The media outlets then had to spend time apologizing for their mistakes and for hurting the family of Gifford rather than getting their facts right the first time.

This was also evident in this week’s news article The F.B.I Criticizes the News Media After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest when speaking about the Boston Marathan Bombings. Carter (2011) states,

“The F.B.I. issued a statement later in the afternoon: “Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting” (Carter, 2011).

In my opinion the most common violations that are evident in the Code of Ethics in regards to “reporting it now” are as follows:

Seek Truth and Report It—Ethical Journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. [Journalists] should verify information before releasing it and use original sources whenever possible.

Minimize harm—Ethical journalism treats sources, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. [Journalists] should balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

Be Accountable and Transparent—Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. Journalists should explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

(“Society of Professional Journalists Improving and Protecting Journalism since 1909,” n.d.)

In each of these ethical standards the journalist is being honest with their information, they are spending the time to gather their information behind their sources and they are being accountable for their research. In Steve Buttry’s article “Journalists’ Code of Ethics: Time for an Update?” Buttry (2010) states: “Journalists should be just as skeptical of information from social media as they are of information from other channels, such as conversation, phone calls other media and documents” (Buttry, 2010). Since journalists are now adopting this “report it now” trend as a society we need to be more mindful of where we are getting our information from, we should be doing the research of the sources shown in the media and we should be on the look out for full disclosure from our journalists.

Should we be expecting more?

As a society we need to expect more from the content we are viewing through media. In order to be a media literate person in the 21st century you have to be able to have the fundamental skills of understanding media from multiple points of meaning. According to Baran (2015), “Learning to enjoy, understand and appreciate media content includes the ability to use multiple points of access—to approach media content from a variety of directions and derive it from many levels of meaning” (Baran, 2015, pp.22). In order for society to fully enjoy the content they are viewing and derive meaning from it we have to expect more from our journalists and demand more evidence from the information being reported to us. How can we accurately make a decision on something without having all of our facts?

For me personally it has always aggravated me to see one side of a story without seeing all of the facts. This is particularly evident in political news stories and advertising campaigns where news broadcasters use human-interest stories to exemplify a political candidate. According to the article Political News with a Personal Touch: How Framing Indirectly Affects Policy Attitudes Boukes, Boomgaarden, Moorman and De Vreese (2015) state:

“Exemplification applies to news stories in which individuals and their personal experiences are used by journalists to illustrate a broader societal issue, with the aim of bringing a personal angle to the story. These individuals are dubbed “exemplars” and have been found to strongly affect the perceptions of political issues: human examples in news stories mislead recipients to believe that certain problems are occurring more frequently than is the case and, consequently, to perceive these problems as being more severe. The reason is that people tend to generalize exemplar information to broader judgments, which increases the perceived seriousness of a situation and eventually may influence people’s attitudes” (Boukes, Boomgaarden, Moorman and De Vreese, 2015, p.123).

As a society we need to be given the training and resources to recognize the faults journalists and the media use to get the news out to consumers. This should be something that is taught to consumers at a young age. Once we have these tools we just need to spend the time researching our sources before making a decision on media information.

Who is to blame?

This is not an easy answer. I think there are two main reasons why society is viewing false news:

  1. Society can be the reason to blame because are posting our opinions online without fully researching the sources of our information and we are not questioning the information we are viewing through the media. This can cause people to believe something without fully investigating the facts. According to Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) “In an age when we are our own editors, in the “show me” versus “trust” me age of information, the act of evaluating evidence falls more directly on us as consumers” (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010, p. 98). In order for the “report now” “apologize later” trend to decrease we have to spend the time to distinguish reliable versus less reliable information.
  1. The pressure to report “faster” comes from the pressure of large organizations looking to be the best against their competitors. According to Baran (2015) “ Often, a media practitioner will face a ethical dilemma at a very personnel level” (Baran, 2015, p. 373). If a large corporate organization is threatening the job of a journalist if they do not report on a story and they are not giving them the time to research the facts this can have a negative impact on the information consumers are receiving. With ethics being mixed with money and the corporate need to make more money, it will be highly important for society to become media literate and look at the validity of stories from all angles.

Works Cited

Baran, S. J. (2015). Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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

Boukes, M., Boomgaarden, H. G., Moorman, M., & de Vreese, C. H. (2015). Political News with a Personal Touch: How Human Interest Framing Indirectly Affects Policy Attitudes. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(1), 121-141. doi:10.1177/1077699014558554

Buttry, S. (2010, November 07). Journalists’ Code of Ethics: Time for an update? Retrieved May 14, 2015, from https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/journalists-code-of-ethics-time-for-an-update/

Carter, B. (2013, April 17). The F.B.I. criticizes the news media after several mistaken reports of an arrest. Retrieved May 24, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/media/fbi-criticizes-false-reports-of-a-bombing-arrest.html?_r=0

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