The Death of Journalism

I’m not an uncritical fan of the professional news agencies. Neither am I overly thrilled with the fact that anyone can have a “news” site. Unfettered and unfiltered access to large audiences should be good for the exchange of ideas, but I believe it is destroying ethics and professionalism in print media.
 
I’m not claiming that professional journalists always follow their own code of ethics, but at least they admit there should be one. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has thirty-five clearly articulated statements in their code. There’s not room to reproduce them here, but even a glance at their four main headings raise serious questions about the integrity of much of what we call news.
 
SPJ Code of Ethics
1. Seek the Truth and Report It.
2. Minimize Harm
3. Act Independently
4. Be Accountable and Transparent.
 
Under heading one, the SPJ states that a professional journalist should, “support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” Recently, I began reading an article on a purported news site. I was sympathetic to the view of the commentator, but stopped reading when he referred to the subject of his article as a “turdbucket.” Hardly what I’d call promoting the open and civil exchange of views. There’s something to be said for professionalism. Saying things articulately and with respect is a worthy ethic. I’ll go farther and say it is a Christian ethic.
 
1 Peter 3:15-16 sets the standard for how Christians conduct themselves in society.
 
 In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
 
Christians are called to reasoned responses, delivered with love and respect … even in the face of societal slander. Social media has given each of us a voice, so we can begin by adopting this standard for every personal post or response. Then we can begin holding our news sources to the same standards. Civilly plead for civility and if nothing changes, change where you go for your news.