In a field as frantically fast-paced as the news business, it is absolutely vital to develop a personal ethical code in preparation for the dilemmas that journalists will inevitably face. In such pressing scenarios, ethical conduct is often overlooked in favor of other alternatives, including childish desires for attention or suspected fame, particularly in the age of the World Wide Web.
Journalism ethics are of rising importance in the digital age due to the instantaneous publishing methods and overwhelming lack of professionally trained and educated gatekeepers. While readers must always be skeptical of the material that they are presented, the onus is also on writers to be accountable for what they publish, as that material is now available to larger, more widespread audiences than ever before.
All bloggers and journalists alike should be mindful of their content, but professional journalists have an obligation to continue to be ethical, for they are still the predominant news source. Readers expect ethical decision-making from journalists, and they have a right to do so. In order to fulfill such expectations, journalists must carefully align their loyalties and reach the premier stage of moral development. If such tasks are accomplished, journalists will earn the respect of their audience, colleagues, sources and themselves.
Listen to Dean Wright, Reuters' Global Editor for Ethics, Innovation and News Standards, discuss journalism ethics and their importance in the digital age.
Though it may seem like a daunting objective, by following my Five Fundamentals of Journalism Ethics, I believe that, as a professional journalist, I can simplify this complex assignment and lead a rewarding career.