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Citizen Journalism Reading Response: Newsgathering and Privacy - Essay Example

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The article entitled “Newsgathering and Privacy: Expanding Ethics Codes to Reflect Change in the Digital Media Age” written by Ginny Whitehouse proffered pertinent issues relative to privacy and the role of responsible journalism in the light of digital conditions. The…
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Citizen Journalism Reading Response: Newsgathering and Privacy
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September 10, Citizen Journalism Reading Response: Newsgathering and Privacy The article en d “Newsgatheringand Privacy: Expanding Ethics Codes to Reflect Change in the Digital Media Age” written by Ginny Whitehouse proffered pertinent issues relative to privacy and the role of responsible journalism in the light of digital conditions. The author initially expounded on theoretical discourses relative to privacy which started from the provision of its legal definition upon inception in an 1890 Harvard Law Review article (Whitehouse). Likewise, discussion regarding differentiating privacy issues from secrecy were also presented. Through the easy access to available information online, journalists were enjoined to evaluate application of media codes through the closer assessment of “Sissela Boks (1989) and Helen Nissenbaums (201 0) understandings of mixed-rule deontology” (Whitehouse 55). Emphasis on adherence to code of ethics were linked to balancing the need to pry further and disclose information which were otherwise regarded as private or secret. The ethical balancing test was noted to be the most useful model which would determine journalists’ actions regarding issues of deception; if and when these happen.
The information and contention of the author was corroborated by Hulnick, who asserted that the responsibility of journalists include being able to adhere to these ethical codes; as well as discern conformity to the balancing test that was noted. As emphasized, journalists regard themselves as watchmen; but as watchmen, they have the responsibility to adhere to “the
individual’s sense of honesty, fairness, and justice can be trained, developed and enhanced to a
sophisticated and salutary level, in the interest of the public good” (Hulnick 43). The inclusion of the public was stressed as crucial by Whitehouse, to wit: “the public itself is included as reasonable persons to whom the balancing test questions are targeted” (67-68).
The reading further one’s understanding of citizen journalism in terms of the knowledge and awareness to the media ethics and the code of ethics for professional journalists; which, obviously are not known by people who are not trained as professional journalists. Therefore, the propensities to violate issues of privacy and secrecy are greater for those engaged in citizen journalism; which, at the extent of breaches of privacy and confidentiality that currently exists, happen predminantly in the digital media age.
Works Cited
Hulnick, G. "Defining the Line Between the Public’s Right to Know and the Individual’s Right to Privacy." n.d. chumirethicsfoundation.ca. http://www.chumirethicsfoundation.ca/files/pdf/hulnick.pdf. 7 February 2014.
Whitehouse, Ginny. "Newsgathering and Privacy: Expanding Ethics Codes to Reflect Change in the Digital Media Age." Journal of Mass Media Ethics (2010): 54-71. Print. Read More
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