CBS2 News Compliance to Principles of Journalism
Thefight for the freedom of the press has been going on for many decadesin the past five decades. Despite the progress that has been made inprotecting the rights of journalists, how these rights are exploitedis now raising new concerns on the moral stand of the industry in themodern society. Specific principles of journalism have been put inplace to provide uniformity of the practice and to demonstrate asense of responsibility for how information is used in newsrooms andnews publishing houses through the introduction of codes and ethics,which are ethical values and obligations. The discourse looks atethics as a philosophy that describes moral sentiment and establishesnorms within the societal context of identifying good and fairbehavior. This paper seeks to analyze local TV newsroom conform tothe principles of journalism as described by Bill Kovach and TomRosenstiel by analyzing CBS 2 news presentation to determine whetherthe station news has adhered to the set codes of conduct.
Thefirst commitment according to the principles of journalism as statedby Dean is to ensure truthfulness and accuracy of information in theprocess of news preparation. As much as it is difficult to guaranteethe truth in journalism works, it is important to get the fact rightthe first time making it the most important principle of journalism.Good journalism involves detailed research to attain accuracy. Allfacts that are investigated must be verified to ensure they arerelevant to the stories being told. When information cannot becorroborated, the news presenter should clearly say so and make thelisteners understand. CBS 2 news from the three presentationsanalyzed fails to follow this basic principle. Most of the newspresented both local and international do not have solid verificationsuch as witnesses to support the news. It becomes difficult to verifythe accuracy of the news given especially in the sensitive news suchas criminal cases where arrests are reported to have been madewithout police comments to confirm the news. The same loop can beseen in weather news, where actual statistics of the intensity of thewinds and the measure of rains expected have not been given orverified by the weather department.
Mediacorporations and independent journalists have a common obligation ofshowing allegiance to citizens. It is important to put the civicawareness and the veracity above their interests such as gainingpopularity, profits or attracting larger fan base. Journalism that isprovided based on no fear has more value to the public than any othermedia content. Being committed to citizens’ means that journalistsshould balance in how all groups within a society are representedwithout ignoring or favoring any. It is evident from the newsanalyzed that CBS 2 only focuses on the top politicians andcelebrities in their main news. They also receive more coverage thanthe news that affects the general society. The newsroom, therefore,has failed to demonstrate their allegiance to the public a fact thatmay hinder the public from fully trusting the news company.
Professionaldiscipline in journalism is mostly inclined towards verifying sourcesof information. Journalists are required to use many ways to assessand test information before disseminating it to the public. This isall about getting it right the first time. As much as journalists maywant to be neutral, the way the information is presented must beimpartial. This should provide for a transparent approach to evidencein a way to prevent biases that may undermine the accuracy ofjournalists work. Journalists as a job should be undertakenobjectively, but the journalists as individuals should always be freefrom being objective. CBS 2 news anchors seemed to be objective whendiscussing society issues instead of presenting the news objectively.The fact that they also fail to give specific verification of theirstories and why they judge the victims in the news provokes thebasics of ethical journalism.
Informationcan only be regarded reliable if it is sourced independently.Influences such as political and celebrity status can easily sway howinformation is relayed. Journalists should present informationwithout being influenced by their personal interests. Journalists areexpected to see beyond they own economic status, cultural backgroundgender or religion. CBS news anchors belong to the elite class insociety explaining the fact why they priorities news for prominentgroups of the society while giving little attention to the normalsociety groups.
Journalismserves a society’s watchdog over people in power and positions thataffect citizens. Journalism also gives the voiceless in a community achance to be heard. Journalists watch the actions of the powerful onbehalf of the public in the society. As Dean asserts, “Theearliest journalists firmly established as a core principle theirresponsibility to examine unseen corners of society.” CBS hasincluded political news and reported events that are taking place inlocal and national politics. However, the news has only providedshallow information on serious issues with the current politicalcontests by top Republican presidential aspirants. Only the goodparts of the politicians are being reported leaving out the knownconflicting statement that some of the politicians have been makingdrawing public outcry.
Newsmedia should provide platforms for discussions and debates. Theabundance of information to the public is one mandate that mediacompanies have in the society. Supplying high-quality content to newsmedia is critical in developing a well-informed society to enablegood decisions to be made. Journalism should represent differentviews points and wellbeing in the society and place them in thecorrect framework and not highlighting only inconsistent issues astheir basis for debates. Providing an outlet or platform fordiscussion on all issues affecting the society is critical and stillhe responsibility of journalism. CBS 2 does not carry out opinionpolls in all its news to measure the public view or responses. Theydo not either make direct phone calls or analyze their social mediaresponses while the news is being read. This lowers the level atwhich they directly engage with their listeners, as they do not giveroom for live debates and discussions to get listeners views.
CBS2 News is well arranged, but the flow from one type of news to theother leaves the viewer in suspense in most times. It is easy to losefocus on the news making it less interesting. The main problem may bethe coordination of the presenters and their director or their skillsin anchoring news. The balance between what readers know and whatthey anticipate in the news is not well done. Some of the stories aretoo obvious with not particularly new information in a place that thepublic may not have heard of from other sources. Keeping newsproportional and comprehensive is important as it gives the truepicture of the society in a glimpse. News should not incline tosections of the communities with attractive demographics only.Stories should be diverse and unbiased regarding representation. CBS2 News seeks to cover a specific section of the community mainlythose with high public forums such as politicians and celebritiesleaving out small groups of the society.
Journalistsas individuals should have their personal moral perspective of thestories they give. This defines their personal ethics andresponsibility in their work and the way they present it. To act asan example in the society, journalists and their media houses shouldvoice out their personal view and agree to scrutinize their work andthat of others to demonstrate fairness. Dean says, “Because “news”is important, those who provide news have a responsibility to voicetheir personal conscience out loud and allow others to do so aswell,” (8). In CBS 2, the news is only read out with minimaldiscussions from the news anchors. They do not give their personalopinions on the stories they tell. They fail to demonstrate theirethical standpoint on issues that affect the general societyincluding themselves as individuals.
Citizensnow have access to news more conveniently and faster than everbefore. The use of internet in mobile phones has made it easy forpeople to access information and shares it amongst their communitycircles making information to spread fast and far within minutes.Journalists now act less as gatekeepers to filter what the publicshould and should not access, but provide the alternative accurateand detailed news to counter or confirm other sources of informationin the public. As Dean states, “The first task of the newjournalist is to verify what information is reliable and then orderit so people can grasp it efficiently.” This helps the generalsociety to access meaning information and prevents the spread ofgossips and propagandas.
Journalismplays an important role in the society. It is critical that thepublic get reliable and accurate information at all times to enablethem to make sound decisions in their daily lives activities. Awell-informed society can make informed decisions when challengesoccur that societies that thrive on rumors and propaganda. Thishowever heavily relies on good journalism that complies with theprinciples of journalism. From the research CBS 2 has to make variouschanges in how its news is presented to include important principlesof journalism to make the company more reliable and trusted.
Dean,Walter. Jour 100 Local Tv News Project Standards, In Bill Kovach andTom Rosenstiel. Elements of Journalism. 2014. Print.