Journalism, meet Ethics

Written by Catrina Lambert

Journalism is an important part of spreading information to the general public. However, in this day and age, anything on the internet can be passed off as news. Especially seen with the recent election, some websites tend to write off opinionated articles as news, even with websites that are seen as professional.

“The number one thing journalists have is their credibility. Without conducting oneself in an ethical manner, journalists lose everything in the eyes of readers. They must ensure they’ve done due diligence to ensure everything they print is accurate. They must be sure to do no harm, be unbiased and act in the reader’s interest. That’s a building block, and while we all stumble when we’re learning, that should be expected of all professional journalists,” NPHS journalism teacher Andrew Smith said.

This is not to say that opinions have no place in journalism. Many articles can be classified as editorials, or articles intended to show a specific viewpoint. However, these must be labeled as such.

“Opinion is fine as long as it’s clearly labeled as such. Some of the best writing is opinion writing…As long as the reader or viewer knows it’s opinion, that’s fine. It’s when opinionated or one-sided pieces are put forth masquerading as balanced, unbiased news that there’s a problem. While most journalists strive to be centered and balanced, we all do have our own inherent biases that affect where that center is,” Smith said. “However, ‘fake news,’ or making up stories simply to push an agenda or viewpoint, and treating opinions as facts or publishing rumors and conjecture as fact, is stuff that’s best left for the National Enquirer. If one avoids “fake news” sites that proliferate on the Internet, or at least knows the perspective they come from, then one will be better off.”

   One of the biggest problems with fake news is that news companies intended to be and are seen as reliable news are actually not, and widely misinform the masses.

     ”…The people who create fake news for money need to be stopped, they are misinforming the public and the world is already filled with enough tragedy and misfortune without them making up more. As for people writing opinionated news, write a blog surely someone might read it and care but keep opinions far away from journalistic writing unless it’s required,” NPHS Sophomore Taylor Roberts said.

Roberts spends her afternoons in the journalism room, along with many other students in the student publications and journalism 101 classes.


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