Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 9: Ethical journalism

The journalism industry thrives at the expense of others. Journalists report everything and anything which are valuable or newsworthy and by that, it means satisfying readers' needs and desires. As human, we tend to get attracted to news reports or articles that report on others' misery. Death, robbery, murder, etc. The irony of having codes of ethics in journalism when in the first place, it is everything but ethical.

However, putting that sort of thoughts about ethics and journalism aside, there are also other meanings to the term 'ethical journalism', not in the sense of ethical =/= journalism. Ethical journalism also refers to the way a journalist reports on events. Every different reporters have different styles and concepts in news reporting because the end result of a report depends on one's moral values and responsibilities. A good journalist would probably report an event based on accuracy and fairness.

And because journalism has evolved over time and is now a competitive industry, most journalists start to struggle to be the best and are therefore, under a lot of pressure. Time is definitely not a journalist's bestfriend because they have to rush to meet the deadlines. As if things can't get any tougher, they also have to ensure that their news contents meed the demands of their readers. This might result in plagiarism which is a conflicting factor in the journalism code of ethics.

In my opinion, ethical journalism is a myth just like media objectivity as mentioned in the previous entry. Media is run by people who have feelings and judgments which lead to biases. So I think journalists subconsciously act under the idea of ethics, not acting with ethics.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week 8: Media objectivity

It is definitely every journalists' struggles to be as objective as possible in their news reporting. Telling the truth is often hard because as human, we tend to alter what we hear or see to suit our personal motives and agendas. Lets assume that I am a journalist and am a die-hard fan of Lady Gaga who at that point of time, just commited a crime and I have to interview her. In any normal situations, I can never have the chance to be within a 10-meter radius of the pop star, let alone, having the chance to even speak to her. And this is my chance. I would definitely be in a very compromising spot - interview her as a journalist and THEN switch to fan-mode and ask for her autograph. That is very unprofessional and having said that, of course it would be very hard for me, or even anyone at that, to be objective.

That isn't the only example of a case demonstrating the lack of media objectivity. There are a lot more different cases out there which most of the times, are not obvious to the public's eye. It is ironic that although journalism = truth, most of the times, it is everything but the truth. It is human nature to judge and get personal. I believe even professional journalists have a hard time trying to be objective but still end up with news reports and articles with subjectivity and personal opinions.

But assuming a journalist really did report the truth and managed to remain objective throughout the report, how can we tell? How can we even detect truth, lies, objectivity and subjectivity in a news report? Or do we actually just go "Hey, that's bias reporting!" just because we do not agree with his reports and have our own personal opinions on it? Well, this can go on and on and on.

So as future journalists, I say that, yes it is hard to be objective and if ever, you see yourself getting off course, be as convincing as possible. In today's world, media objectivity is an entity just like how unicorns also are (only the latter have been a myth for the longest time).

Week 7: Where's my privacy?!!

I am just a 21 year old nobody, typing a blog entry on a school night. It's getting really late and the sky is pitch black with sprinkles of stars. Every now and then I look out my window to rest my sleepy eyes and, hey, wait. Is that a paparazzi outside my house taking pictures of me?! Why you little... Oh. Sorry, it wasn't me he is targeting. It's my neighbor downstairs. But of course. She is a famous actor in Singapore. She is ought to be filmed and caught on camera anyway because she is just too popular, too famous and people wants to know what she is up to. What she is wearing. What she is eating. What shampoo she uses...

So one would often think, does being a celebrity really equates to a lesser degree of privacy? To a certain extent, I would think yes, a celebrity is not given the privilege of privacy. Being a celebrity is a career choice or a life path which is personally chosen by an individual, who should know very well that attention, drama and the countless paparazzi that are bound to hound him/her daily are part of the package.

To clear the air, I am NOT saying that celebrities are deserved not to have privacy. Don't we all do? What I meant to say is, despite deserving that certain level of privacy, unfortunately, being in that field of work, their level of privacy remains minimal. The word celebrity is almost synonymous with fame and fame is equal to publicity. In other words, although celebrities may deserve equal levels of privacy like we all do, they should totally lower their expectations of privacy because otherwise, everyday would be filled with disappointment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week 6 - We are ALL online-ed today

It is all about the ever-changing, ever-improving technology today that affects the journalism industry in more than one ways. Quality of news has taken a dip, the lingering question of credibility, the truth of where exactly do journalists today stand... Just to name a few, those are some of the issues facing the journalist industry in the world today.

Although it may be true that technology has brought with it numerous advantages, it also has adverse effects. The utmost convenience and simplicity of gathering and then distributing news through online platforms (worthy or not) has taken a toll on 'true' journalism. New media has taken over traditional journalism by allowing people from all walks of life to report on events happening around the world and pass them on to any Tom, Dick or Harry who subsequently, may (or may not) believe the report.

We are lucky if the news we received online were released by a real journalist behind the screen, or maybe a doctor - just someone educated and 'credible'. (Note that I insert an apostrophe in the word 'credible'. We can't escape biasness. It's human nature.) But what if we received news report released by a part-time cashier or maybe a 12-year-old kid, predicting the Armageddon? Well, the idea I am trying to get across is how terribly easy it is for just anyone to create news and pass them on to another person.

Technology has allowed such thing to happen and it is all happening today.

The convenience of the internet has resulted in people, even those who were previously not often exposed to news, to be exposed to news now. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs are some of the most common platform of news today. It's immediacy, easy-access and fresh updates has won traditional news hands down. This has resulted in something terrible despite its (little) advantages:

We are all subjected to lies and inaccuracy in news content.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week 5: Globalisation vs. Localisation

I will focus mainly on globalization in this entry. So I drew that during one of the lectures I attended last trimester. It is weird and amazing, all packed in one, how globalization has indeed made the world a smaller place. Boundaries crossed, cultures hybridized and suddenly America don't seem so far from here afterall. In Asia, specifically Singapore, all sorts of culture come together and congregate to become one. The western culture has definitely influenced most of our lives here - the way we speak, eat, walk and most importantly, the way we think.

Having been raised by my parents who were previously raised by their parents who at that period of time were very much a conservative and quiet lot, I think it is only natural that I would be like them too. Fortunately (I'd say!), the advent of technology and globalization today has made me a more open-minded and liberal person. Having said that, I am very thankful to be living in this period of time where globalization is considered to be at its peak.

It has changed many things over the years, especially in the media industry. As America is known to be the world's most powerful key-players in the media sector, it has spread its influence throughout the world. In Singapore, we have Point of Entry inspired by CSI, which in my opinion, is an epic fail because we lack of talent in both the acting and effects department.

With technology constantly advancing, not only are we able to receive news from all over the world, we also have the power to distribute them massively and reach out to the mass all in the name of fun and the internet.

However, of course there are those who are anti-globalization. Think China and their communist party. The government fear that globalization and the internet would spread democracy into their communistic society. Hence, the internet are very much controlled in China. All I can say to them is "You can run, but you cannot hide." This phenomenal change is stronger than they think they can control. Democracy is on its way to hit mainland China. They may fight and resist, but ultimately, they are just delaying the democratic process. Time will tell.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week 4: Who will pay for journalism?!

It is a fact that you can't flip open a newspaper or a magazine without being confronted by advertisements after advertisements. Advertisements are obviously the main supporter, backbone and probably one of the main factors apart from its readers which allows journalists to keep their job safe. According to Franklin (2006), journalism is a full-time job paid through a combination of subscription and advertising.

However, with the technology advancing at an alarming rate, and thus, the growing popularity of turning to the internet for news updates rather than picking up a newspaper at a local store, it has definitely placed print journalism in a threatening spot. Let's assume that newspapers fold worldwide and every single person start to rely heavily on the internet for news which subsequently, do not produce enough money to pay people to do journalism - then who will pay for them?

And it is probably exactly because of that (and also the fact that print journalism is a more credible source of news) that the print industry will never cease even when the internet rules the entire world.


Franklin B. 2006, Local Journalism and Local Media. Available from: Google Books [Accessed: May 27, 2011]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 3: Journalism as a Public Conversation

According to author Zaidi (2005), journalism was first introduced way back in the 17th century. At that time, newspapers were the only platform available used to reach out to members of the public. This form of traditional journalism was often seen as objective and balance. In other words, traditional journalism can often be trusted without a doubt.

However, over the centuries, a new form of journalism known as citizen journalism is undoubtedly thought to be the latest trend in media today. With the inception of local blogs such as Temasek Review and The Online Citizen, such form of writings has taken a new take on journalism.

As these bloggers are not considered to be professional reporters or journalists, this questions the credibility of the information that is put up in their websites. Citizen journalism usually puts people first, thus, capturing readers' hearts through its biased reportings. As mentioned by Allan (2009), citizen journalists have no responsibilities and that they can opt out anytime they want unlike professional ones.

Therefore, as much as we might want to take in and believe every single word put up by such 'irresponsible' journalists, it is of utmost important to not entirely rely on their reports solely. Perhaps what we can do is to read from multiple sources, inclusive of those from professional ones before coming to a conclusion and allowing those reports to shape our mindsets.


Allan S. 2009, Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives. Available from: Google Books [Accessed: May 21, 2011]

Zaidi S. M. 2005, History of Journalism. Available form: Google Books [Accessed: May 21, 2011]