Sunday, November 30, 2008 66 comments

Pillars of Journalism: Objectivity, Accuracy, Plagiarism

There are so many important factors that are essential to proper journalism. Any reputable journalist must maintain several characteristics within their reporting at all times. It was difficult to choose only three important rules for journalistic writing because all of the rules I find very important. Below is a list of journalism rules that every journalist must not avoid.

Objectivity -
Journalists must maintain an objective standpoint whenever covering a news event or writing about a particular story. When a journalist looses their objective traits, the reader is then reading solely opinion instead of hard news.
Example: "Sen. Barack Obama will soon take office and will do a wonderful job as the nation's new president."
----This example clearly shows an objective viewpoint toward this topic and does not reflect journalistic qualities. The reader does not want to know how the reporter feels about the subject but instead wants the information as it stands. That is why objectivity is one of the most important traits to a journalists.

Accuracy-
I cannot stress enough the importance of accuracy for a journalist. A reporter that does not report accurate information looses all credibility for their stories. Being able to report accurate information is one of the most important elements to a story.
Example: "A robbery occurred on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bank of America, causing the bank's entire savings to be stolen."
----
If the Bank of America was not the bank that was robbed and if 5:30 p.m. was not the right time of the robbery, this statement will spawn all sorts of problems among society and those that may be involved with this situation. These are extremely important facts to write correctly. That is why accuracy is very important because being accurate is one of the first steps to producing a newsworthy story.

Plagiarism-
There are many rules and limits that hinder journalists each day. Plagiarism is one of these rules that journalists are forbidden to do. Plagiarism is taking other written works, someone else's information or another person's quotations and using it in a reporters own story. This is highly forbidden and could result in a loss of job.

This is one of the most important aspects to a journalist because it could result in very extreme penalties.

To learn more about journlism ethical issues read SPJ Code of Ethics