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ethical issues in journalism

Never plagiarize.
Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another
author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as
one's own original work. Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach
of journalistic ethics
That is a simple, clear statement in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of
Ethics that leaves no room for ambiguity.
The digital age we’re currently in offers both the most opportunities to verify the
authenticity of original work and also misuse it without giving credit to the original
reporting source.
With databases, Web searches and other online research, it has never been easier to
research the source of a story or other original material. On college campuses, for
example, students who choose to plagiarize and buy a term paper or have someone
else write it for them (the same work also submitted by others), can be caught much
more easily than 30 years ago.
News outlets are under constant pressure, 24/7, to create content. Most outlets now
are multi-platform, so the traditional broadcast news outlet is looking for content for
its website, and may take something from another news site without crediting the
original source in haste for getting that content posted.
And reporters are working on a freelance basis more and more frequently, not
subjected to or sometimes aware of news outlets’ ethical guidelines. Sometimes not
having that regular touch point for reinforcement may lead to laziness. Whether
inadvertent or deliberate, there is no excuse for plagiarism.
A clear way to avoid this is to attribute information in stories and actually know the
subject matter well so you can explain it in your own words without relying on
someone else.
Integrity and credibility, two of the most important values in journalism, demand that
all media outlets be clear about the source of stories they did not produce. Failure to
follow that guideline results in plagiarism, a former Ethics Committee chairman wrote
several years ago in criticizing the Hartford Courant for using stories from other
Connecticut newspapers without giving them credit.
The most prominent case of plagiarism in recent memory is Jayson Blair at The New
York Times (a case study about this is in “Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of
Professional Conduct for News Media,” 4th Edition, published in 2011 by SPJ and the
Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.) The case raises issues not only of Blair’s behavior, but
a lack of oversight by his editors. In this ever increasing bottom-line newsroom
culture where veterans are laid off or forced to retire and are replaced with
less-experienced journalists at much lower salaries, the lessons of the Blair fiasco
should remain at the forefront, not fade into some distant memory.
Journalists should be proud of their skills and their voice. They should let their own
words speak for them, rather than those of others.
Some of the most simple, straightforward and fundamental principles are ones that
unfortunately need repeating. SPJ admonishes all journalists to take special care so
that proper attribution is given at all times.
What criticism is?
Criticism is the practice of judging the merits and faults of something.
In general, film criticism can be divided into two categories: journalistic
criticism which appears regularly in newspapers, magazines and other
popular mass-media outlets; and academic criticism by film scholars who
are informed by film theory and are published in academic journals.
The problem appears to be something caused by a number of factors, such
as vested corporate interests, a lack of editorial independence, the need for
money to survive, a desire for acceptance among corrupt peers, or simply
not knowing whether an act is wrong because it has become common
The Institute’s undergraduate track in Media Criticism equips students with
the analytical methods and historical context necessary to transform them
from passive media consumers into critical thinkers. Drawing on disparate
schools of thought, from Plato to postmodernism, Bagdikian to Baudrillard,
the Media Criticism concentration examines the social roles, cultural
effects, philosophical implications, corporate influences, and ideological
agendas of the media.
This concentration brings a new approach to the study of the mass media,
combining analytical strategies associated with press criticism, media
theory, and cultural studies with a focus on new media and the radical ways
in which they are transforming our social worlds, economic landscape, and
cultural environment.
The Media Criticism concentration insists on deep historical knowledge
and a fluency in the major theoretical approaches to media analysis. At the
same time, it is founded on the cornerstone journalistic values of factuality,
balance, and clarity. Students learn to communicate their critical insights
not in academic papers but in exhaustively reported, clearly written
articles, essays, and works in broadcast or online media that are both about
the media and examples of mass media.
Media Criticism graduates will be well prepared for lives as critically
engaged citizens of a mass-media society; as public intellectuals, speaking
about the media to the wider world beyond the academy; or as scholars
teaching and writing about the media in an academic context.
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