Modern Problematics of the Journalism World

April 19, 2012

The inevitable demise of newspapers is apparent for today’s journalists. However the creation of Web 2.0 and the arbitrary advances of technology has significantly benefited the journalism world today. Subsequently, along with these beneficial outcomes unleashes an array of new glitches. Finally modern-day journalists can  stop dwelling on the dissolution of newspapers and move onto the present problematics journalists face today.

Living in the 21st Century can be a gift and at the same time a curse. The gift is the simplistic accessibility to the vast amount and variety of news media outlets. The downfall is living in the era of instant gratification. For the  first time audiences is consuming news media more than ever. Mainly because of the capability of being able to receive any information in the palm of a hand.  Journalists captivated this is as a new revelation. In return Journalists new desire is to meet and maintain the high demand of instant news that their audiences are desperately seeking for. However with this new desire comes the array of technical glitches from trying to meet these high demands.

An unfortunate but important lesson that the Journalism world should learn from was the recent false report’s of Joe Paterno’s death. Within moments of the first false report of Paterno’s death, the story began to spread like wildfire. This story unraveled very similar to a game that children play called telephone.  The children whisper a phrase to the person next to them, then that person forwards the message to the person next to them and so forth. The last person reveals the message to the group, and typically the message is distorted from the original message.

The false report of Paterno’s death began on a Student-Run Web site affiliated with Penn State, reported by ‘at the time’ managing editor of Onward State, Devon Edwards. The mistake Edwards made was never back tracking the source to verify that his statement was accurate. Unfortunately Edwards heard of an email that stated Paterno’s death and was distributed to Penn State football players.

Within an hour of Edward’s false report, several other media news outlets chimed in and reported Paterno’s Death even added additional details. Thus is why technology has become problematic in the journalism world. Technology is instant and because of the high demand of news media coverage, journalists are rushing to disseminate the information before anyone else does.  This notion of ‘being first’ is dangerous, for it can impair journalist’s judgement, blind their ethic implications and ultimately hinder their reputation.

Last night, guest lecturer and NPR’s Managing Editor for Digital News, Mark Stencel guest briefly touched upon the ethical implications of journalists. Stencel believes it’s an understatement that journalists make mistakes, and its inevitable because journalists are human and all humans make mistakes. Although Stencel said it’s not an excuse for journalists to make mistake  but if a mistake is made, it’s the aftermath that matters.

When Edward realized his error,  Edward’s profusely apologized  and released a statement that regarded the situation and was specifically meant for the family members of Joe Paterno. Further more, Edward later resigned but continued to remain on staff.

Indeed this particular story taught journalists a valuable lesson. Accuracy, back tracking sources and liability is vital and matters. This is why living in the 21st century can be a curse because publishing can be too easy, too fast and accommodating. For instance once something becomes published, it can become viral with minutes. Even though the internet provides a delete bottom doesn’t mean it went it went unnoticed. Stencel stated by deleting a published work makes readers suspicious if there’s something to hide.

In conclusion, the modern problematics journalists face today is the possibility of getting engulfed by the instant news media craze, neglecting ethical implications and ultimately becoming a careless writer.

 

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3 Responses to “Modern Problematics of the Journalism World”

  1. stevejfox Says:

    Nice blog post, Melissa but consider trying to tighten up your narrative a bit….seek shorter sentences and paragraphs…You have a lot of throat clearing here. Don’t forget to self-edit.

    • Melissa Gately Says:

      Thank you, I agree. In return I revised and hopefully minimized the throat clearing to a minimal.


  2. […] conjunction to my recent blog post, Modern Problematics of the Journalism World, SEO does entail many benefits for modern journalists however there are negatives […]


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