In recent years there has been a move from print based journalism to digital journalism causing may characteristics of the art of journalism to change. As in many other technological advancements there is always a loss, in this case it seems as though we are fundamentally replacing traditional aspects such as, seeking the truth, reporting that truth by way of verification and diligence. Not to forget the ethical and aesthetic responsibility to uphold. In this new era of everyone having the affordance to actively participate in news it becomes a constraint due to the fact that ‘citizen journalist’ create facts from fiction and spread it. These journalist do not do their due diligence and properly investigate but build a narrative built on pure speculation which I believe goes against everything journalism stands for.
In pure curiosity I did some research on what are the guidelines or oaths journalist and reporters adhere to . To my surprise I came across numerous websites that backs my initial thought that journalism has the duty to seek the truth by means of honesty and integrity. According to, The Sedona Observer, a website that thoroughly explains the code of ethics of journalism, it states that “…journalism becomes a sacred trust in which the public accepts information as the truth and holds journalists responsible for upholding it.” Now with that said, I find it hard to believe that any of us who report on any media site takes into consideration the code of ethics that comes with reporting. I think the fact is many people only hold one obligation and that is to themselves. This media induced obligation that we must report our opinions, our feelings, our interpretation, and somewhere along the way we forgot that we actually have to report the truth.
In, “Photojournalism in the Age of New Media”, an article by Jared Keller, I came across an interesting sentence, it read, “while a single snapshot may tell a thousand-word story the trick is to get the story right.” Bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers, and all other social media users drag from what they see. They pull together stories and create a new meaning under false pretenses. Now, do not get me wrong news being reported on a social media site is whats wrong but what comes as a result of it. People pick and choose on what to report, they misinterpret, and they make false allegations. Take for instance, the Reddit and the Boston Marathon bombing incident that was discussed in Brian Carroll’s, “Writing and Editing for Digital Media”. Sunil Tripathi was falsely identified as the Boston bomber after his image was placed alongside the actual bomber. The initial accusation on Reddit then spread to Twitter where the story transformed into a user claimed to have gotten the information from a police scanner. After which the tweet became viral. Tripathi was in fact not the bomber but had his character defamed due to hear say and the lack of verification of information and sources. People were so invested emotionally in the horror of the incident they forgot to investigate the truth from credible sources such as the Boston police.
Although, new media users have gotten a bad rep for performing acts of citizens journalism due to their messy and reprehensible acts of reporting sites such as Watchdog City, offers a platform which offers regular people who do feel the obligation to report on matters of injustice and social issues a platform to do so in a manner that does respect the dying guidelines of journalism. On Watchdog City, independent journalist register an account where they present their work to be evaluated by the sites credibility rating system and must follow a code of ethics as stated by the site. As so much damage has been done by reporting in a new media age a site such as this combines the new of the digital media and the old of the responsible to the public in a way that produces quality work based on diligence, credibility, and verification. We must remember that our words add to a global story and what we report is not just for our own personal debriefing but for the world to feed off of. It is our responsibility to report the truth even if we do not agree with it.