Be Loyal

Loyalty. A seven-lettered word that’s meaning is bigger than the word. I really enjoyed the presentation Group 2 gave on loyalty. Some of the concepts and principles brought up kept me thinking and had me really wondering what loyalty is, especially in journalism. When I looked up the definition of loyalty, I found this: a strong feeling of support or allegiance. This leads me to think that not only is the word loyalty a noun, but it is also a verb. Being loyal is an action. We can’t simply say that we are loyal without taking any action. Through our writing, we must show that we are loyal, or supportive, of our audience. It means that we must show faithfulness, commitment, and obligation to our readers.

Group 2 talked about the Watergate scandal and where the loyalty lied in that situation. After that occurrence, journalism became more subjective and judgmental. A great clip on journalism and the Watergate scandal is shown here.

Journalist’s within an organization have many obligations and people to answer to. Amidst all of that, however, we must remember that our allegiance remains to the citizens. The larger public interest is of great importance. By showing such consistent loyalty to the citizens, we prove ourselves and strengthen our reputation by showing them that we are credible and accurate. Through our loyalty, we show that our facts and information aren’t slanted, biased, or influenced. It is important to be credible because our credibility builds a loyal, broad audience. This audience, so long as you remain loyal back to them and verify your facts, will continue coming back. In turn, the audience will continue to grow in size and variety. It is important that we nurture our loyalty to the citizens. I learned a great deal about this from this site.

In an article by Nieman Reports, I learned that what we call loyalty to the citizens has come to be known by the term of journalistic independence. This is the idea that as journalist’s have tried to win over the loyalty from its audience, that the journalist slowly gains independence. It’s an interesting concept that you can read more about here.

 

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Tell the Truth.

The fact of the matter is, journalism and truth should go hand in hand. Unfortunately though, that is not always the case in the world of journalism, especially in this day. As Group 1 presented, the question that kept coming back to my mind was how does truth actually apply to journalism? We know that it is important, vital even, so how do we actually make the two coincide? I have been thinking about this question and this is what I have come up with.

We know that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth. We MUST tell the truth. If we don’t, there are big consequences to pay. Jayson Blair, an ex-writer for the New York Times, demonstrated this principle very well. In 2003, Blair destroyed his own career when he was caught fabricating all of the stories he had written and published for the Times. The consequences were ruthless. Blair was not only fired from the Times, but lost his reputation completely. He has not been able to find a job in the field since. The full story on the Jayson Blair affair is found here.

Those we write for depend on accurate, reliable facts. We build our reputations as journalists in the field by consistently showing accuracy and reliability. Our loyalty is to the citizens, and therefore we must provide them with facts that have been checked, double-checked, and re-checked. We must verify the facts and sources to make sure we are getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This principle of journalism is well illustrated at this site.

I believe a statement that Group 1 made: people have lost the truth in journalism. We see it all around us, that the truth is slowly slipping away. It is very interesting to see what the definition of truth means to different people. Its meaning can get very muddled and fuzzy, and I believe that is a large reason we are losing so much of the truth. This article talks a lot about why we are losing truth today.