January 9, 2003
RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM: OVERCOMING AN ETHICAL QUANDARY
With the recent advances in communications and technology, the ability to rapidly disseminate information and news across our global village has transformed the very nature and format of the news industry. Headlines and breaking stories are constantly revised and updated every few minutes as a wealth of information continuously pours in from numerous sources around the world. Within this hectic landscape, journalists often find themselves scrambling to cover one story after the next, with little or no time for any preliminary preparation or research. The pressure to quickly investigate and report a breaking story can be overwhelming for many journalists, whose deadlines have dwindled from days to just hours or even minutes in some cases.
One of the consequences of a marketplace economy is increased competition, which results in a wider range of products and services at a lower price. In the context of the news industry, this situation has translated into the blossoming of a greater number of young and inexperienced journalists than ever before. To somehow distinguish themselves from their competitors in this tight market, journalists are expected to not only seek out and report captivating stories, but to also report these stories from different angles or fresh perspectives. Under these circumstances, the pressure and temptation to embellish facts or compromise the accuracy of information and events has become an ethical quandary from which extrication is exceedingly difficult.
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