“You have to go where the story is to report on it. As a journalist, you’re essentially running to things that other people are running away from.” – Lester Holt
I found today’s guest speaker extremely attention-grabbing. A Professor in Communication, he taught us some great aspects of research and media ethics.
I loved the fact that he started his presentation by saying: “Truth is good, but sometimes it is better not to know it.” While I totally agree with this statement, I still believe that it is better to be hurt by the truth, than to be confronted with a lie.
Moving onto the core of his presentation, he mainly focused on the ethical choices in the news values, and the different factors that influence media to choose its news and international stories.
What I learned is that what will determine the publication of an article is the anticipated consequences that we can expect from it. Statistics show that negative news, such as conflicts or deaths, are more newsworthy than stories with a positive outcome, which surprised me a lot in the first place.
Selecting news is all about choice and rationality. A lot of us, including me, think that we do not need more media in our lives since each one of us is a ‘journalist’, and each one of us has become an ‘editor’. It turns out we are all wrong. In reality, we need it more than ever. But let’s not forget the actual editors, who come up with all the qualitative judgements.
While listening to all of this, I started asking myself: we hear a story, we write about it, but then do we publish it immediately? What happens is that in like any other field, journalists face competition. While you might be the best editor, your competitors will also publish about the same topic. The question is then, how can you actually differentiate yourself in the market? How far can you go? Can you violate privacy?
All of the above are major questions that have to be taken into account.
In my family, everyone is oriented towards different professions. We have some doctors, some engineers, some designers, some hospitality managers, some teachers. But the one I respect the most is my grandfather, former journalist. He has experienced so many different things in life that today make him a proud person of what he has achieved. He once told me, “Being a journalist is hard. But what makes you successful is accepting the challenges. Get the facts right, tell the story fairly, and you will be fine.” Since then, it made me realize that if you want to become a successful person in whatever field you want to proceed in, all you have to do is live with the challenges, accept failure as a learning process, and never lose the motivation to accomplish your goals.