Monday, February 23, 2009

The Media

Journalists from across the globe, collect, write, edit, and present news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts through the media. The code of ethics and/or canons provide journalists a framework for self-monitoring and self-correction as they pursue professional assignments.

Media, a social institution of information sharing by journalists. The tools used to store or deliver data according to the Websters Dictionary. The media does an essential task for our society by delivering pertinent information to its audience regarding social issues that are of interest, of importance and to fulfill a publics need to keep informed.

The Society of Professional Journalism follow a code of ethics, which are not rules, but are the tools to follow for ethical decision making. In the United States, private citizens are protected from slander. On the other hand, public figures have fewer privacy rights in U.S. law, where reporters are immune from a civil case if they have reported without malice on very controversial and important issues. Meaning, they can later apologize, retract anything reported and make corrections if their reporting was seen as malicious by the very public figure. In comparison, Canadian journalists have to present news with full facts on a very controversial issue.

The cartoon above is from Australia, clearly a perception from the outside, that compares the American media action on political parties and their leaders.

Media Bias, a term used to describe the real and percieved bias of journalists and producers of the mass media. Media bias has had major impact on many news recipients regarding important decisions and issues in the United States. Without fear of repercussions, the road for unethical journalism is a free for all.

How is it that we as the recipients of all news, can we perceive and comprehend the meaning behind a message? What is our response based on? Is it our history, knowledge or our social groups (peers, friends, family, etc)? Would we make better and more informed decisions if news were presented by ethical journalists? and a law that holds them accountable for slander on very important and crucial newsworth issues.

The media and its framework are an integral part of society and works with major institutions to keep it going. In a Structural Function persepective, the survival of professional journalism as we know it, is in danger due to radical changes needed for unethical journalists. Which may happen with the upcoming review on the Federal Communications Commission. Many ethical professional journalists fear, they will no longer be seen as professionals as long as the code of ethics are abused. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of their credibility. (Society of Professional Journalists ethics) - regarding the freedom of the press, first amendment The canons of American journalism (a good source for sociological insights by sociologist Michael Sudson.) The Society of Professional Journalism - 1909 The Federal Communications Commission


  1. Ethics as social constructions are understood differently through time periods and cultures. Cultural relativism plays an important role here. That is why there are different rules for journalists in different countries. Even if we have ethical journalists to present the news, we will not be able to see and understand the facts from a 360 degree view. The mainstream media has been one of the many tools used to maintain the order of the society. Messages that we receive contain meanings that we are expected to get as socialized citizens; in other words, we automatically use our socialized ideologies to interpret simple facts by socially understanding the symbols.

  2. Nutty Haze, your second link goes to a religious organization, not to the "canons of
    American journalism." When I googled "canons of American journalism", I found this link: which is still the religious organization page. I never did find the article by the sociologist that you refer to. Can you post the link to the sociology article for us?

  3. "Specifically, journalism ethics addresses problems concerning the behavior of reporters, editors, news directors, photographers, designers. It touches the editorial as well as the business dimensions of the news business. It is important to acknowledge the continuing discussion about the lingering question of whether journalism is a profession at all. Suffice it to say here that many journalists and their codes of ethics see it that way. Sociologist Michael Schudsen argued, for example, that it was this reach for professional status that motivated many journalists after the turn of the century to develop the codes and practices we see as representative today.

    Within American society a basic function of journalism is to provide." I did not say there was an articly by him, but a perspective insight (arguing) by him on journalistic professionalism and ethics. A social structure such as an institution like journalism, has functions that affect our society and our daily decisions immensely.

  4. Nutty Haze, you spelled the sociologist's name in two different ways: Schudsen in your second post, and Sudson in your first post. I can find no article by a sociologist using either spelling in the Sociological Abstracts. I DID find a Michael Schudson on Google Scholar. I assume this is who you are talking about? This spelling of his name also does not show up in Sociological Abstracts. I'm not sure that he is a "real" sociologist... But perhaps he plays one on TV! :)

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