JOURNALIST E-MAIL 4
It is challenging to ensure fairness, honesty and balanced coverageas a journalist. It is especially more challenging when coveringpolitical news as there are numerous competing media sources(Evensen, 2008). Providing coverage and competing with other newsproviders becomes a challenge as one is uncertain of whether tofollow in the trend of other media or report uniquely. Anotherchallenge arises from the difficulty in drawing a line between whomor what comes first when covering news, the employer, audience orindividual needs (Evensen, 2008). At times personal interests impedeethical journalism despite endeavoring to ensure fair and honestreporting of all politicians involved in the campaign. For instance,when supporting a specific politician it is possible to give morecoverage to them, which limits the mandatory requirement of ensuringbalanced coverage to all candidates involved. To avoid suchchallenges, every journalist should be guided by a code of ethics.This implies utilizing honest manners of acquiring information.Fairness and balanced coverage are relevant factors of journalisticaccountability, which involves ensuring news, comprise points of viewfrom diverse politicians.
If journalists are to cover news satisfactorily, specifically duringa political campaign, it is necessary to be aware of essential factsconcerning the political past and surrounding of the nation. Suchfacts can be obtained from political websites. However, most of thesewebsites do not contain credible information. It is impossible toprovide the political background of a story, when covering apolitical campaign, without depending on information alreadypublished online. Thus, it becomes difficult and more tasking todetermine, which websites are trustworthy. Websites cannot beentirely credible, as perfection is impractical to attain. Althoughthere are reliable websites, it does not guarantee their authenticityto news coverage. By depending on websites, it may be possible toread gossip instead of news. The journalist has to be cautious onwhat to believe as websites comprise of a lot of poorly researchedand impartial information (Johnson & Kaye, 2014).
Currently, there are numerous simple and convenient manners ofposting information online. Most of the information is not filteredvia professional gatekeepers. Additionally, websites lack establishedindicators of reliability, like the identity of the author andlongstanding reputation, placing the problem of validatingcredibility on the users (Johnson & Kaye, 2014). Examples ofthese websites are The Drudge Report, Daily Kos andColbert Nation. The websites have had their fair share ofcontroversies, meaning that they cannot be solely depended upon. Attimes, a website may provide credible information, but the journalistmust compare with other websites to ensure news covered is properlyresearched, hence credible.
The public solely depends on political news reporting in makingpolitical decisions. The public knows essentially little about apolitical campaign except what the media portrays (Comstock &Scharrer, 2007). Since the media acts as agenda setters, then it iseasy to influence whatever decisions audiences make in relation topolitical news covered. The continuous news flow avails a greatfrequency level for the similar news to be repeated severally.Regardless of whether such news is credible or not, it becomesreality in the audience’s mind due to repetition. Media sourcesseem to be politically divided. Since there are many media sources,each chooses to air political news depending on the politician thatthey support (Comstock & Scharrer, 2007). Supposing that amajority of media sources choose to publicize a specific politicianduring a political campaign, the public tends to believe that thepolitician is the most suitable candidate. Notably, media chooseswhat to air, meaning they may choose to air what they deemappropriate regardless of the credibility. In the end, the publicmake political decisions based on what they read or hear from mediasources.
Comstock, G. A., & Scharrer, E. (2007). The psychology ofmedia and politics. Amsterdam [etc.: Elsevier.
Evensen, B. J. (2008). The responsible reporter: Journalism in theinformation age. New York: Peter Lang.
Johnson, T. J & Kaye, B. K. (2014). Credibility of Social NetworkSites for Political Information among Politically InterestedInternet Users. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication19, 957-974.