SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHICAL JOURNALISM
In an era of rampant disinformation and uncertainty for both journalists and their audiences, ethical journalism plays a critical role in helping journalists create effective newsroom structures and storytelling processes.
It can address some of the most pressing challenges newsrooms face as they struggle to establish trust with citizens.
It is important to understand the role of journalism ethics in creating newsroom governance structures, strengthening storytelling and building trust.
The word “audit” gives the impression of an external, detached evaluation but it is important to note that this term doesn’t do the process any justice.
There should be an open conversation among any newsroom management and staff that examine how well their work and processes align with their organization’s mission and core values.
The audit should cover newsroom functions, editorial outputs and internal accountability.
An editorial audit should expose hidden processes or tendencies that encourage any newsroom management to re-evaluate its editorial practices.
In addition to facilitating self-examination, the audit should help the newsroom leadership to examine its governance structure and policies.
Human resources changes including preparing contracts and creating job security for staff can help create the needed space to nurture ethical and high-quality journalism.
To do this, newsroom managers and journalists need to make a consistent effort to engage their audience.
The recent tongue lashing by Information Deputy Minister Lily Akol Akol was a clear manifestation of the poor journalism standards in the country.
She said she doesn’t watch local news on TV neither does she even listen to local radio or read local newspapers.
She further said several senior government officials do not read local newspapers because of poor journalism standards.
Indeed this is true if what we see in our local papers or listen to on our radios is to go by.
Journalism profession seems to be providing an easy landing for quacks who have no little clue of its principles of practice.
It is hurting to see poorly written headlines, some with glaring mistakes, stories that have no basis for publication yet they are still considered major contents in our press.
The poor journalism standards only call for proper professional training or newsroom-based mentorship and not ad-hoc or workshops.
People learn well through experience and unfortunately most scribes lack that experience.