Ethics is a very controversial topic constantly discussed within our society. With everything, the question, “is it ethical?” can be asked, and with journalism it is no different. There is an ethical code of conduct which journalists who are part of the union in New Zealand have to agree to. Not only is this to be respectful but also to act professional while managing the job. It is important that we treat our sources with respect when gathering the information we need to serve the public. As mentioned in other blog posts of mine, the most important job for a journalist is to report the truth, and the code of conduct expresses analogous rules.
“They shall report and interpret the news with scrupulous honesty by striving to disclose all essential facts and by not suppressing relevant, available facts or distorting by wrong or improper emphasis.” I will only disseminate the truth with my news story on the Quay St rapper, and express the facts and opinions from my sources.
“They shall not place unnecessary emphasis on gender, race, sexual preference, religious belief, marital status or physical or mental disability.” There will be no unnecessary emphasis on any of those mentioned above in my story as the subject of my story, is only about his rapping and the raw talent on the street.
“They shall not allow personal interests to influence them in their professional duties.” I feel like my story is an opinionated piece, therefore I will use opinions and facts obtained from my sources, and follow the planned frame of my story.
“They shall not allow their professional duties to be influenced by any consideration, gift or advantage offered and, where appropriate, shall disclose any such offer.” Not that I have had any ‘offers’ of anything mentioned above, but I will unquestionably tell the truth and represent my topic as guided by the story frame that I have chosen. This means representing Quay St by expressing how much raw talent is on the street, using the Quay St rapper as an example of this.
“They shall use fair and honest means to obtain news, pictures, films, tapes and documents.” With my story, any information I have gathered I have asked permission of my sources, and used reliable websites for research.
“They shall identify themselves and their employers before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast.” When doing my interviews, and discussions on social media, I have explained that I am a current journalism student at AUT, and that the information obtained is for an assignment.
“Any adequate theory of ethics should be able to explain how reasons can support moral judgments” (Rachels & Rachels, 2010).
So it is evident that the reasons for this ethical code of conduct support moral judgments as they are in place to ensure that the truth is told respectfully, and that the sources are treated with dignity and respect.
Check out a full list of the ethical codes here.
Rachels, R. & Rachels, S. (2010). The Elements of Moral Philosophy. (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.