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Guide on Ethical Journalism


The Institute of Communication Studies (ICS), University of the Punjab arranged a special lecture on ‘Ethical Journalism‘. This was the third time in the past two years that the Institute touched issues pertaining to Media and Ethics by inviting media professionals who are related with field work. However, this time instead of personnels belonging to national media outlets a journalist working for the BBC was given a chance to share his views about the ethical dimension of journalism.

Mobeen Azhar-page001

Mobeen Azhar a British born Pakistani delivered his lecture by relying on a comparative approach based on British and Pakistani context. The purpose of the lecture was to stress the need for media accountability and to treat “ethics and responsibility” as the top most priority instead of hunting for material gains. To support his argument, Mobeen shared a presentation with the students that included three examples from British newspapers and two examples from Pakistani broadcast media.

After his presentation, Mobeen concluded along with the students who contributed during the lecture that the problem of ethics exists in both the British and Pakistani media. However, the difference lies in the stringent measures of accountability to discourage unethical practices.

Other alarming aspects were raised during the discussion that followed the lecture.

Not only does Pakistani media avoid accountability of irresponsible journalists, but they also continue to be a part of the mainstream media by switching over to other networks on higher salaries

Public interest is compromised to push ethics aside and to save vested interests.

In the UK, Public Service Broadcasting saved the media outlets from falling into the hands of advertisers.

Mobeen agreed that Pakistan is a young country and the media is even younger (especially electronic media), but individuals especially journalists cannot rely on ‘hoping for the best’. Although being ethical while being a part of Pakistani media was an uphill task, but this shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, a weak regulatory system like PEMRA in Pakistan calls for a stronger sense of responsibility within the Journalistic community of Pakistan, in his opinion. 

 

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Cyberspace Reporter Versus Earthly Reporter


Difference between ‘Reporting in the Virtual World
and
the ‘Physical World’

By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi 

Abstract

This report will succinctly identify and explain the differences between reporting in the real world and in the virtual world. To test the differences, experience of reporting in both the cyberspace and physical world is presented. The differences are arranged in the themes of, data gathering, organizing the report, writing and publishing. Conclusion ascertains that differences lie mainly during the stages of ‘data gathering’ and ‘publishing’.

Introduction:

The report aims at identifying the major differences or divergence between data gathering, organization, writing and publishing, while reporting events in the real world (physical world) as opposed to Computer Assisted Reporting and Research through an online medium (virtual world).

Rose (1995) concisely describes the differences in the internet/virtual/cyberspace and the physical world by arguing that the Internet doesn’t host a ‘new set of population’. Whosoever uses the internet is also connected to the real world, somehow or the other. Consequently, the online providence of information reflects events in the real world. [1]

However, Susler (2001) justifies major differences between the virtual and real domains by taking the support of ‘Cyberpsychology‘. Internet is psychologically distinct due to its characteristics of ‘anonymity’, ‘variation in skill levels’, ‘absence of geographical boundaries’, ‘option to change appearance/identity that leads to deception. [2]

Kolodzy (2006) discussed the two reporting techniques in the context of ‘convergence’ that distinguished online news from the print medium by emphasising on ‘interactivity’, ‘hyper links‘ and ‘multimedia’, which allows online journalism to ‘guide’ and ‘tell’ more than any other medium of communication. [3]

Dueze (1998) mentions that the online reporting of events is more complex as; [4]
deuze2

He presented a model for online journalism in 2003, explaining that online reports leave more room for dialogue between the reporter and the reader, it is instrumental and concentration is centred upon ‘public connectivity’. On the other hand, traditional journalism concentrates editorial content through orientation and monitoring. [5]

Conclusively, the Cyberspace reporter is the creator and controller of the content, with the luxury of ‘self-publishing’ at his or her disposal. The traditional reporter is bound to follow the editorial policies of the news agency/print media outlet that he/she is working for.
Dueze’s model for online journalism:

Deuze2


Web Journalism: The Use of Blogs as tools for Reporting

Although social interest networks like Facebook, information network like Twitter, simple html websites and blogs, all are potential reporting tools in the virtual world. However, the report focuses on ‘Blogs’ only.

In 2009, the executive director of Committee to Protection Journalists, Joel Simon, said that “bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly”. The Royal Pingdom (a forum that looks at the uptime-monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world) estimated that 70 million WordPress blogs shall be created by the end of 2011. In March 2012, the ‘nielsenwire’ reported that over 181 million blogs have been tracked around the world. The exponential rise in blogging is followed by citizen or participatory journalism, especially in countries where traditional media fails to present the views of the masses.

A specialist blogger (trained journalist having a blog of his/her own) applies the journalistic practices and values like objectivity, fairness, balance, coherence and news norms, such as timeliness, human interest, proximity, unusual nature, conflict, impact and helpfulness.

On the other hand, an undifferentiated blogger (not specializing in the field of Journalism) is likely to deviate from the journalistic norms. A citizen blogger may provide a highly subjective account, owing to some of the limitations and personal bias, while reporting an event.

Consequently, after content itself, it is the presentation of the content in the online report that counts. The presentation is likely to differ, according to the bloggers skill and familiarity with standard journalistic techniques of reporting.

 Experience: to Test the Differences

The experience of covering a seminar in the real world and the one that was mediated through a video clip on ‘vimeo’ can give a clear view of the points at which a Cyberspace reporter and Earthly Reporter diverge.

Reporting in the Physical World:
A seminar to be reported in the real world is likely to follow this pattern:

earhtly reporter

 Problems that influence reporting:

The tape recorder might not record properly as reporter is a participant, he/she is part of the audience. The hiss and noise in that setting is likely to obstruct the reporters concentration. This was removed by appointing two reporters so that points missed by the other could have been covered.

All the speakers weren’t available at the end of the session. The reporter had no other choice than to miss out details that were to be confirmed from those speakers, instead of misreporting them.

A photograph was taken by another participant at the event for the report.

Reporting in the Virtual World:

A cyberspace reporter is likely to follow this pattern:
cyberspace reporter

 CONCLUSION:
The highlighted differences represent the distinction between a Cyberspace reporter and an Earthly Reporter. Note that both the events were more or less similar, but the reporting processes of data gathering and publishing differed in both the worlds.

References:

[1] Rose (1995) Net Law: Your Right in the Online World

[2] Axelrod (2009) Violence goes to the Internet: Avoiding the snare of the net, Charles C Thomas Publisher

[3] Kolodzy (2006) Convergence Journalism: Writing and Reporting Across the News Media, Rowman & Littlefield.

[4] http://cybra.lodz.pl

[5] Veglis & Siapera (2012), The Handbook of Global Online Journalism, John Wiley & Sons.

Journalism Notebook

Journalism Notebook (Photo credit: planeta)

mappa_blog

mappa_blog (Photo credit: francescopozzi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Research Hub

 

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E-journalism and the youth


E-JOURNALISM is emerging as a powerful form of alternative media. It is a two-way communication traffic where our opinions receive immediate responses and render us well-acquainted with day-to-day happenings.

Social networking websites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter are an attraction for the youth.

Unfortunately, these are seldom used for constructive purposes. Cyber bullying is becoming common; photographs and
videos are usually misused.

Youths need to reflect that they do have some sense of responsibility. Students should actively contribute in blogs and
participate in issue-oriented discussions.

Chatting with friends and delving in music on youtube shouldn’t be the sole purpose of using the internet. There are numerous blogs on the internet such as the Voice of Youth which has converted itself into a well-defined Social Action Project.

Similarly, there are multiple other activities like creating a page of your own for a noble cause or for discussion on current affairs. Blogging is a creative and enjoyable activity.

Youngsters are the future architects of Pakistan. High hopes linked with them should foster into a reality which can make Pakistan a progressive country.

This is only possible when the youth understands its responsibility and that it is indebted to this land.

E-journalism is a good option to start with.

This was originally published in Dawn newspaper on July 17, 2011.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/17/e-journalism-and-the-youth.html

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Letters

 

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