Geneva Swanson

Integrity in News and What to Prioritize

According to a good portion of people today, there’s a lot of ‘fake news’ out there and that’s why we can’t trust news outlets.

Many people say they are frustrated with modern news because of the blatant bias that has taken over the media like CNN, FOX, Washington Post and more. In the Neiman Lab article, Newsonomics: rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values, the author discusses this issue of checks and balances in the media. It’s journalists job to check people of authority and the government and provide accurate and unbiased facts to the public.

core values meme

“Fundamentally, we’ve arrived — possibly again — at a place where people expect values-oriented media.” ~Neiman Lab article

That quote from the article really spoke to me and is most definitely a huge topic that news outlets must address today.

When you think about what the news and journalists were created for in the beginning it was to hold people with power accountable for their actions. Instead of “taking sides,” remain neutral and provide facts to the public that shows what is going on in the country and world.

As a journalism major myself, we must take an ethics class (which I am sure is the same as many other schools). In this ethics class, we are taught what our values should be as a journalist. These ethics include:

  1. Transparency: make sure your intentions are clear to the public, therefore you shouldn’t write a story that you were paid to write etc.
  2. Accountability: hold people of power accountable but also hold yourself, peers and your community accountable for their actions.
  3. Morality: have a clear set of personal values and remain moral in the content you release. For example, most newspapers and outlets don’t release the names of sexual assault victims unless they give consent or have previously come out to the public.
  4. Providing for community: make sure your content is related to your local community, local news is just as important as national or international news.
  5. Objectivity: remain fair and nonpartisan in your reporting, also known as being ‘unbiased’. For example, you shouldn’t only write articles related to one political party or only write an article from one perspective. You must provide all perspectives and let the reader decide their own side.

These are the few that I really hold dear and try to strive towards everyday but there are many more like: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently….

There are many more that you could title as the journalist’s “code of ethics.” There are just so many things and values that journalists should follow for ethical reasons.

news meme.png

Another thing to keep in mind is how to design a news source. So, if you are thinking about creating or starting a news source for news, like and app or website there are some things you need to categorize.

These categories you should consider, according to this Tow-Knight Center article The New Business Models for News Toolkit, are:

  1. Pre-Launch Basics: list your overall goals and create a game plan, also consider your range of ability and what you will be able to execute.
  2. Audience: determine what your target audience will be therefore you can tailor your marketing and content strategies that that specific audience.
  3. Content Strategy: define your strengths and weaknesses, and also how your site or product should be structured. You use this information for your strategic plan or your product. Determine what you will be posting about, what information will be provided to your audience etc.
  4. Marketing Strategy/Brand: once you decide what your content strategy will be you can decide how you will be marketing your product and how to make your marketing unique. Also, determining your brand is essential to set a tone for your product, how will your audience perceive your product or voice?
  5. Social Media: with today’s society, social media is a must. You must decide how exactly you will be involved in social media, whether that’s incorporating media marketing by having social media accounts and interacting with your audience directly or deciding who will be in charge of managing the social media accounts.
  6. Business Model: decide on a revenue model. The article asks: “Do you intend to launch a non-profit or for-profit news organization? How are you planning to generate revenues? Options may include advertising, sponsorships, events, micro-payments, subscriptions and grants; the goal is to figure out the appropriate mix given your skills and target market.”

All of these things are important to keep in mind when you are both providing the news and taking in the news/ digesting it, as well as deciding where you are getting your news from.

4 thoughts on “Integrity in News and What to Prioritize

  1. First off, you did a really good job writing this blog! As I mentioned before, huge fan of articles that have lists in them! I especially like how you listed core values of being a journalists and describing what the core values mean to you! Good job!

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  2. I completely agree that many people nowadays feel that the news is untrustworthy and “fake”. As a journalist, I see where they are coming from because there are many major news outlets that appear to be biased and only get one side of the story. But that is not our job and that not why I went into this field of study. I take ethics to heart every time I write an article because I want it to be accurate and I want to be known as someone who is credible in what I do.

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  3. From the Oprah meme to the Nieman Lab quote, I connected with this post. As a journalism student, a former high school journalist, a patriot and a Christian, these ethics are of the utmost importance to me. If I had a manifesto, these would be it. Beyond journalists though, I completely agree that people are craving values-oriented journalism.

    I love how you segued into a how-to, quick hits guide on being part of the movement. Whatever we can do to encourage and enable people to take up ethical journalism, I think we should do it. And this post does it exceptionally well. It’s efficient and there are plenty of access points for people to jump into the content.

    The only thing I would add to this post is a few numbers to back up your claims. It’s widely accepted, of course, that Americans believe there is fake news out there. But a quick Google search shocked me. According to a Politico poll, 46 percent of Americans believe the news media fabricates stories about President Trump and his administration. Only 37 percent don’t believe they do. The rest are unsure. The news media either has a major problem on their hands or a major opportunity. I think you captured just how to take this opportunity and run with it.

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