Every journo who got formally trained in the mass media studies is familiar with the ethics of journalism. As part of the academic curriculum, it turns to be one of the important topics. In fact – something becomes imperative in academic curriculum – only because of the significance it is coupled with. But, when it comes to the actual practice, hardly any journo in general or the media organisations as a whole are practising ethics of journalism. Practicing ethical journalism isn’t just a state of mind or a commitment a journo sign in the fall when he joins the media. It’s hard work – every instant.
Often there exists a conflict between fairness and accuracy, while reporting the issues. Fairness is possibly harder to achieve than accuracy. The experience can be a sturdy teacher to address this crucial factor.
As far as contemporary media is concerned, yellow journalism or the yellow press is in vogue. A type of journalism that presents diminutive or no genuine well-explored news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers is known as yellow journalism. Techniques varying from exaggeration of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism are the main ingredients of such journalistic practices.
From the other corner, sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers. Sensationalism may include reporting on commonly trivial matters and events that don’t influence overall society and biased presentations of remarkable topics in a trifling or lurid manner. Deliberately obtuse, appealing to emotions, being controversial, intentionally omitting facts and information, being loud and biased and acting to obtain attention are the few techniques involved in sensationalism.
Inconsequential information and events are sometimes misrepresented and exaggerated as important or considerable, and often includes stories about the actions of individuals and small groups of people, the content of which is often insignificant and irrelevant relative to the major commonplace events that take place worldwide. Additionally, the content and subject matter typically doesn’t affect the lives of the masses and doesn’t affect the society – and rather is telecasted and printed to attract viewers and readers. The publication of articles should not be primarily aimed at getting prizes and awards.
The interests of media conglomerates certainly aim at achieving top ranks among their competitors. Success may be achieved by practicing the yellow journalism – overnight. Nevertheless, certainly it won’t last longer. Of the many issues the journalistic ethics talk about, the mass media prestige is one. As it is rightly said – conflicts of interests damage the prestige of the mass media. For obvious reasons, the journalists should not become dependent on sources of information or someone’s interests. The facts should be considered as the first and foremost things to be reported. The future of journalism depends on how well the media personnel master these essential elements of journalistic integrity and ethics. Else, that day is not far away when parents would shilly-shally open the newspapers or electronic news channels in front of their wards.