PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN ONLINE JOURNALISM.

GROUP ONE

Name                                                                                            Adm. No

Emmanuel Ndara                                                                            9715

Mevin Getembe                                                                               9977

Jefan Karimi                                                                                    9802

Faith Weru                                                                                       9957

Davis Otieno                                                                                   9669

Esther Mutaki                                                                                 9697

Erick Ndung’u                                                                                9963

Definition of the terms

Journalism

According to definitions from Oxford Languages it describes Journalism as an activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines or news websites or preparing news to be broadcasted.

Online journalism or digital journalism

 It is a contemporary form or journalism where editorial content is distributed through internet.

Professional journalism

Refers to ethically practiced journalism that is guided by media law.

Ethics

It is a behavior and moral guides, principles as well as codes which a person or group of people in a professional voluntarily choose to observe in the course of carrying out their day to day activities that deals with the decision to do good or bad.

Important of professional journalism.

  1. It helps to improve credibility because journalist dive into a story and give it context and depth that it’s otherwise lacking.
  2. Helps to present contents which are facts in an unbiased light for they are, meant to inform.
  3. Professional journalism means professional quality like quality video is important to keeping viewers’ attention and maintaining a news organizations professional reputation and trust worthies.

Qualities of a professional Journalists.

  1. Ethics and Integrity:-A solid ethical core characterizes a good journalist. When your ethical core is strengthened, you are a step ahead to being a good journalist, Honesty, objectivity and fairness are of great importance when reporting news.
  2. Proper Investigative skills:-As journalist possess an investigative mind core and create articles with evidence, stating facts with no emotion attached.
  3. Knowledge of Technology or understanding technology:-Using internet sources to find stories and gain access to public records when handling investigative records.
  4. Analytic mind
  5. Persistence and discipline
  6. Courage and boldness

Ethics in Online Journalism

1.      Accuracy and standards for factual reporting

Reporters are expected to be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available and eyewitnesses to seek reliable sources. Properly using their sources and using accurate quoting and use of words from interview or conversation. Events with a single eyewitness are reported with attribution.

Events with two or more independent may be reported as fact. Controversial facts are reported with attribution.

Quality journalism that scrutinizes and criticizes social, political and economic authority – is in a constant state of vulnerability to manipulation and censorship, particularly from those with money and

  1. Slander and libel considerations

Reporting the truth is almost never libel, which makes accuracy very important.

Private persons have privacy rights that must be balanced against the public interest in reporting information about them.

Publishers vigorously defend libel lawsuits filed against their reporters, usually covered by libel insurance.

  1. Harm limitation principle.

Harm limitation deals with the questions of whether everything learned should be reported and, if so, how. This principle of limitation means that some weight needs to be given to the negative consequences of full disclosure, creating a practical and dilemma. Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

  1. Self-Regulation

In addition to codes of ethics, many news organizations maintain an in-house ombudsman whose role is, in part, to keep news organizations honest and accountable to the public.

An organization earns and maintains a strong reputation in part through the consistent implementation of ethical standards, which influence its position with the public and within the industry.

  1. Be Accountable and Transparent.

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.

Principles and guidelines related to the specifics of online publications.

  1. Journalists and media should always respect the dignity, reputation and privacy of individuals. This cardinal principle assumes added importance in online publications due to serious harm that the latter may cause to the legitimate interests of third parties.
  2. The editors or operators of websites should not publish any material online, written or visual that incites hatred or violence, or causes director indirect discrimination on the basis of gender, age, marital status, language, physical or mental disabilities, sexual orientation, political conviction, religion, or ethnic or social status.
  3. Forums dedicated primarily to children and young adults should be monitored with special care and attention, including for the purpose of preventing cyber bullying and the publication of malicious content with intention to do harm to others.
  4. Care should be exercised to ensure that hyperlinks used in website content do not direct users to other sites that contain deliberately harmful and false information or that do not respect the Journalism Code of Ethics
  5. Editors and website operators should adopt and prominently publish on their websites their third-party content management policies, and the rules that users must follow to add comments or other content to their pages.
  6. Editors or website operators should make available to users a simple mechanism to report third-party content that users consider unlawful or in violation of website policies.
  7. Editors and website operators shall act immediately to investigate and remove unacceptable content as soon as they become aware of it. They shall act on their own volition (even in the absence of a complaint by affected persons or other parties) and shall respond immediately upon receipt of a legitimate complaint.
  8. With respect to comments that constitute hate speech, endanger the safety or physical integrity of individuals, or may cause other serious violations of human rights, editors and website operators must make use of effective mechanisms to identify and disable such content as expediently as possible.
  9. Editors and operators should have in place special policies and mechanisms for the identification and expeditious takedown of sexual content or non-consensual intimate images (photographs, video, etc.) in view of their especially serious impact on the privacy and dignity of the affected persons.
  10. Hate speech is understood as speech intended to generate intense hatred or is incitement to actual violence or discrimination against individuals or groups, especially minorities of all kinds. Staff responsible for moderation of comments should be properly trained in the basics of relevant national legislation and international standards on protection of vulnerable groups.

Challenges facing online journalism.

  1. Miss – and disinformation.

A fundamental challenge for social media users is that miss- and disinformation typically looks exactly the same as real news in your feed. As a result, at first glance, it can be very hard for journalists and non-journalists alike, to discern fact from fiction. 

As a result, we all need to “think before we tweet,” check the provenance of material we are sharing or using in our work, and be aware of the latest techniques being used to spread misinformation, conspiracy theories and partisan agendas. 

  1. Privacy concerns.

Journalists and anyone using social networks needs to be cognizant about the potential repercussions of what they say online. These spaces aren’t safe from onlookers, and actions taken in these spaces are not without consequence.

  1. Filter bubbles 

Tech platforms are designed to show us more of what they think we like, rather than what we need. Essentially your news feed on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram is a giant recommendation machine

For journalists, that means we have to remind ourselves that online discussions are not representative of populations at large, and that they are deeply filtered by both platform algorithms and what people choose to post.

 As storytellers, we need to work hard to be exposed to different points of view. Social media is a tool to help us in our work, but traditional methods of identifying and building relationships with sources remain just as pertinent.

  1. Weaponization of social media.

We also see the weaponization of social media by state actors and opportunists with the intention of influencing what we see, and our view of the world around us. Driven by financial, as well as ideological motives, this type of online activity is only going to increase.

As journalists, we need to be able to interrogate sources in new and more sophisticated ways. These requirements will only increase as deep fakes and other manipulation techniques become more advanced

  1. Graphic Manipulation

Contrast to mere photo enhancement or correction, i.e. Photo shopping, is graphic manipulation. This is the application of image editing techniques to photographs to create an illusion through digital means. The reason for this is to increase readership and over sales.

  1. Fair Use, Copyright and Ownership

Internet users must understand and follow copyright and fair use laws. These laws protect original works of private users. Fair use is something that can be granted only by the copyright holder and is meant to allow the usage of copyrighted material for a limited purpose.

  1. Hyperlinks

This is a connection between two pages. It is viewed as unethical because it links to another site without permission which is considered as copyright infringement.

  1. Plagiarism 

This is not crediting a source for information used in a presentation or passing off someone else’s idea as ones. It is an ethically questionable activity that involves stealing and lying, and it should be avoided.

  1. Sensationalism

 This is the tendency to publish information that causes an intense emotional reaction. Online headlines should not misinform readers even if it has to be strong and enticing.

  1. Cheque Book Journalism

This is the receiving of financial gratification to report a story in its correct or distorted form. It is only aimed at boosting sales and making money.

  1. Chat Rooms

Interacting is the key aim of online journalism. Though a site is not ethically responsible for what is being posted by users but its name gets affected when the chat room users are bombarded with obscenities.

  1. Immediacy 

This poses ethical challenges for accuracy, credibility and balance on the internet. Certain rules are observed by online journalists by editors but citizen journalists fail to follow those rules because of the pressure of the public for information.

  1. Corrections 

Some online users get wrong information from some sites and these sites often upload a revised story but fail to make reference to the previous one.

  1. Trolling 

This is an anti-social act of causing conflict and controversy among online users. It inflicts anguish on helpless strangers. “Feeding The Troll” –a response to troll’s action- is also discouraged.

Ethical violation.

 This is something that is spoken, written, that violates a company’s, organization, platform documented code of ethics.

How Ethics are violated.

  1. Posting distinctive personal information about ones sources.
  2. Omitting facts provided to the journalist that would clearly lead the reader to a different conclusion.
  3. Publishing allegations by a single source without attempting to verify accuracy of the information.
  4. Calling for comment after normal business hours when there would have been time for the journalist to call earlier.
  5. Using editorial positioning of quotes to impact readers’ conclusion e.g. putting quotes critical of an organization in the lead paragraphs, burying any response much further down in copy.

References.

  1. Larrondo Ureta,A.(2011).The potential of Web-only feature stories,journalism.
  2. Cohen.E.L. (2002).Online journalism as market-driven jounalism
  3. Julian Webster.K (2002)
  4. O’Sullivan,J (2005)

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *