I have always looked forward to writing something about what has been close to my heart—journalism. And it might have been apparent already that I always tend to lean towards my journalistic nature or at least try to. Well honestly I could not say that it had really been my bread and butter, but I am grateful to have amassed a wealth of information regarding the journalistic rules and ethics from my modest beginnings as a student all the way to marching through.
A trip down memory lane will take me to the very first day at the university where I first went to—10 years awhile back—I could vividly remember the old picturesque building I was at Silliman University (now celebrating the 111th year since its founding in 1901 by Americans in the Philippines) and right at the very room, stood an imposing poster of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics. That served mainly as our “bible” for writing news regardless of whatever beat (a term used in journalism to refer to a particular area or category of concentration) we were assigned to.
Though I could not say that everything is plain and simple but at least we always have those principles to guide us in our reportage whether it be in print, TV or radio. I might not have scrubbed every single word at the back of my cerebellum but at least I have committed to memory the key points underlying them. So it’s never difficult to abandon the guiding principles that govern the separation of news from opinion, the appropriate use of language and tone, importance of fact and objectivity, and whatever hallmarks there are in journalism.
But then there came SOCIAL MEDIA, vigorous debates surround media personalities as to how, when to or when not to use it in the line of duty. It’s amazing that so much had been drawn to discuss the etiquettes and pitfalls of using emergent technologies. However, realistically it’s undeniable that international media companies now embraced it as an indispensable tool in carrying out what’s expected of them. Most, if not all, have issued additional guidelines to safeguard them from unnecessary allegations of biased-reporting all due to their journalists’ personal point of views.
And there is one that personally caught my attention and it’s definitely because of its plain straightforwardness—the Australian Broadcasting Corporation through its managing director announced in 2009 the new social media guidelines to which their national broadcaster’s journalists and staff must adhere to accordingly:
- Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute.
- Do not undermine your effectiveness at work.
- Do not imply ABC endorsement of your personal views.
- Do not disclose confidential information obtained through work.
In my own opinion, those four standards were founded on mutual respect to both parties: one, the company as an organization and, two, their people as individuals. Just because a person decides for the rest of his/her life to become a journalist one day does not entirely mean they abandon stating their personal views whether or not through the use of social media. But of course they bear in mind that there are values that they need to strictly adhere to.
Now that blogging is my new medium, I was reminded that there indeed was a particular one that I have strongly committed by heart, truly a “campus by the sea” memoir—the 11th item in the Journalist Code of Ethics as adopted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines which states:
“I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, DECENCY should be my watchword.”
Courtesy of http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/socialmedia