Journalism: hard or easy task?

“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.

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Conflict Minerals

“Say ‘NO’ to conflict minerals.”

Until recently, I believed that conflict minerals did not exist anymore. It turned out I was wrong. I read such devastating articles that my brain was refusing to accept any further information.

Democratic Republic of Congo. A rich nation in gold and other minerals, they say. But do any of you realize what stands behind all of this prosperity? Violence, torture, and nothing more than pure human devastation.

While you wake up in your cozy room, and drink your cup of coffee in front of your favorite morning show, people on the other side of the planet are forced to work under terrible conditions. They work in mines controlled by armed groups. They face violence. They suffer. This is their daily life.

Were you aware of the fact that you are contributing to this whole process? Probably not. Neither was I.

Let me tell you one thing, the connection of our consumer appetites and the whole violence occurring there, is as a result of our smartphones, laptops and tablets. If only we could know, as consumers, where do these products actually come from…

I am the kind of person that supports peace, and that desires the very best for our nations. I am certainly not willing to support crimes against humanity.

What many of us do not realize is that as individuals and business partners, the fate of many people is in our hands. Luckily, we have the power to prevent this from happening any longer.

Together with the implementation of new laws, companies are forced to disclose their use of conflict minerals. Fighting against crimes related to these minerals is a legal requirement and a priority for corporations around the world. That’s why more and more businesses today are taking a deeper look at their supply chains.

If you aren’t sure about the origin of these minerals, then ask your suppliers, and your suppliers will ask their suppliers, and so on. So before opening a business, have this in mind.

Personally, I strongly support all companies disclosing the origin of their minerals, since it is more than obvious that supply chains with conflict-free products generate more profit. If you cannot demonstrate this as a company, well then you can be sure that you will be thrown out of the market.

I believe it is very important to show us, consumers, what goods we are actually purchasing. Where they come from. Under what conditions they were made.

If a company ensures me that I purchase the right goods coming from the right minerals, then I would be very pleased to hear that I support efforts to stop such wars and crimes. And I will definitely continue to do business with that company.

It is not that difficult, is it? All we have to do is work together, and ensure that our business community is not contributing to the funding of crimes against humanity.

Together, we can always make a better world.

Inside Job: The Ethics of the Financial Crisis

“What we know about the global financial crisis is that we don’t know very much” – Paul Samuelson

Inside Job is a gripping documentary directed by Charles Ferguson, filmmaker. I highly recommend it to those of you who want to learn more about the actual truth behind the whole global financial crisis of 2008.

What surprised me a lot, is that everything began back in the 1980’s. During this period of 30 years, more or less between 1980 and 2008, occurred a deregulation in the financial sector, which immediately led to excessive and reckless risk-taking, and a lot more, such as gambling, massive fraud, conflicts of interest, and even sabotage.

As a result, there was not only a massive decline in the financial stability for the global masses, but also a massive incline in the financial gain for a minority of heads in high finance and government. What is even worse is that all of this still continues today. It is a trend we hardly can escape from. We have been trapped in it, and we are the ones paying for the massive consequences.

After watching the entire documentary, I did learn a lot of new aspects on this specific matter, but most of all it left me hanging around with different emotions, and still today while writing this post, two weeks after having watched it.

I was really alarmed by the fact that regulators used our money, the citizen’s money to pay back for the crisis they had caused. Most of all that they operated in a climate of drugs and prostitutes.

It is still very hard for me to realize all of this is an actual true-life robbery story, which shows us the world in which we live, surrounded by thieves that get away with everything, that do illegal business, and that control us. Most of all, it shows a long-lasting crime that did not get any punishment. And why is that? Nobody knows. It makes me think of a horror movie. Very depressing because it is shockingly true.

The whole of this system is a pure mockery of capitalism. But not only, of democracy as well. The crisis that the American economic policy elite caused did not hurt them at all. Instead, it hurt us: society. It was their mess, but it is always society who cleans everything up. I believe, this is not democracy as we pictured it in the first place, is it? Living in corruption and lack of ethics is not what we want. At least, it is not what I want. For this, we need to change. The question I want to ask you is: How?