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A Journalist’s Choice

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From natural disaster sites to areas torn apart by political conflict, journalists undertake journeys both literal and metaphorical to display to the public aspects of life that would otherwise remain unseen. A journalist’s role is to speak out about issues that impact individuals, including matters that may be difficult to discuss candidly, such as sex, religion and race, to name a few. Reporting a story involves interviewing key figures, maintaining balance and constantly verifying facts, all while following a deadline.

However, above all else, a journalist must maintain integrity and honesty as key components to an article. A news story is meant to shed insight on facts and public opinion, not express the writer’s own views; an opinions piece must be fair, rather than created solely to shock or offend readers. The crucial essence of any published work is that it must have a purpose, whether it is to inform, entertain, spark thought or all of the above. While a journalist cannot necessarily avoid touchy subjects, they must approach the idea with sensitivity. The right to freedom of speech and press does not automatically grant anyone permission to violate basic ethical standards of journalism and unnecessarily offend people. A journalist must always critically examine whether their message should be expressed despite the possibility of angering the audience: that is, does a deeper purpose beyond eliciting a strong reaction and promoting sensationalism exist?

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