Journalists now live in a time where our content is open to criticism like it’s never been before. According to the University of Wisconsin Center for Journalism Ethics, “Our media ecology is a chaotic landscape evolving at a furious pace. Professional journalists share the journalistic sphere with tweeters, bloggers, citizen journalists, and social media users.”
That being said, how do journalists separate themselves from the plethora of digital media creators? What separated a journalist from a blogger, if they’re all using the same platforms for publishing?
My philosophy on this dilemma is the following. The tools are the platforms of distribution, but the content is what separates journalists form non-journalists. Whether I’m producing a video for the a website, or writing a story for print, I always adhere to my set of journalistic ethics. I always fact-check, never write sensationalist headlines, or attempt to deceive my audience. The quality of the content I produce is the same, regardless of the outlet I’m producing it for.
Legacy media companies have the ability to create and maintain a dominant culture on the Internet because of their name. Brands help determine credibility. That brand can be a name of an individual, or a name of a media company, but the end result is still the same.
In my opinion, with such a revolving digital landscape where the content is changing at unprecedented speeds, it’s of the utmost important for online journalists to maintain their integrity and ethics, to promote the truth and help separate themselves from those without formal journalism training.