It's no secret that with media comes an abundance of unanswered ethical questions that we refuse to talk about in fear of ridicule. However, as a student who aspires to be a journalist and reporter, I feel as if it is my partly my duty to speak on this, push this, and invest in this.
I am here to say that ethics do matter in the journalism world.
As a society, we have turned a blind eye to moral boundaries in order to satisfy our own nosiness and selfishness. Journalists publish false news. We validate it through reposting it and sharing it on our social media sites. In fact, as a society, we thrive off of this news. Without it, we would be forced to find satisfaction in the humdrum of our own daily lives, rather than that of someone else's.
We complain that the news industry gets a bad rap, but what should we expect?
Since the recent events and the early publication of TMZ's announcement of Kobe Bryant's death, insults concerning ethical boundaries that should have been considered with the early release of this information have taken over social media sites everywhere. Kobe Bryant's death was announced online before his wife or family were even notified. Yes, this means that likely Bryant's family found out about the tragedy through TMZ's reporting.
Am I surprised? No. Am I appalled? Yes.
This is an issue that has been prevalent for decades. It seems the news industry has begun to prioritize competition over the respect and privacy of the individuals affected by their content. However, we refuse to see this as an issue until its consequences are far too many and too late. We allow for lies to be spread about politician's children. We gossip about celebrity drug overdoses, and we feed this moral trap until it reaches its breaking point. While some may be satisfied with accepting that this is 'just a part of the industry,' I refuse to believe that it is, and I refuse to accept that it is. While some may be content with the explanation that it is just a part of the job and it isn't personal, I am not.
It is personal, and we must start treating it as such.
In this specific situation, I subconsciously have put myself in the shoes of Vanessa, Kobe's wife. I can not imagine finding out that my husband and daughter have passed from an online source. In a time of so much panic and heartache, I can't imagine how much worse TMZ's article affected an already devastating situation.
What exactly is the goal of the news industry?
Is it to inform society and keep them safe? Is it to provide them with insight into their favorite celebrities' lives? Is it to give them ten ways to lose ten pounds before bikini season? Whatever it may be, I would like to believe it isn't to destroy moral code and devastate families and individuals.
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