This week we started with learning about Ethics, and what it means. A great point that is made, is how there are definitely shades of grey when it comes to Ethics. While it may seem as though there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, there are also many levels of things that seem right, but in actuality aren’t.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself, I studied Broadcast Journalism as an undergrad student and learned that when it comes to ethical problems there are a lot of different ways to be unethical when it comes to getting information from people through an online platform.
When I was studying journalism and learning that there are so many ways to be unethical when it comes to getting information from people, is when I first began to wonder if I was going to be joining this profession. While many people uphold themselves to the highest levels of integrity when working, there are also many people who are willing to be more cut throat and take the risk of doing unethical things while having the idea that they won’t get caught.
When I was looking for information about ethics and thinking about what I choose to do in my life, I came across this image, and I found that it really did show how I choose to live my life.
I have always chosen to be an advocate for what is right and what is fair, but all of that is subjective. Is there a standard that we should all live by? Does having the ability to connect online change the rules? I personally think that while there is a code that people should live by, there are a lot of times and a lot of reasons people can get it wrong. I think motivation is the biggest reason that people think they may be doing something properly, but in the end are doing it for selfish reasons.
For instance, September 11th is a day for Americans to remember how the country is not infallible, and horrible things can occur at any time. For many people in the Northeast, they lost family members or friends or can remember looking out and seeing the destruction. This past September 11th, AT&T tweeted the picture to the right, and it was met with a serious backlash. While they claim that their motivation was to “Remember and memorialize September 11th” it comes across as a ploy to sell phones, and that is something that was deemed by the public highly immoral and unethical. This demonstrates to me that even though they may have had good intentions and the right motivation, perception is another factor when it comes to ethics.
The public makes their own judgements and assumptions of what motivation is, so if an action falls into a shade of grey, and not just right or wrong people can quickly jump to conclusions and it will change the way they are seen. It is another reason that motives and ethics are tied together.
Can a journalist connect with someone online without mentioning that they are a journalist or why they are being contacted? Ethically, I don’t think that they should be able to not identify themselves, however in a world of social media you never know who is on the other end. While I would hate for someone to contact me with ulterior motives, it is up to me who I accept online and why I choose to accept them. My motivations need to be to keep myself and my identity safe, otherwise, with social media there is a chance for people to take advantage and act in an unethical way.