Does “Paid Journalism” hit Journalistic Ethics?


By Triveni Sharma: For several decades, journalism happened only in the three conventional methods of communication: print, radio and television. Journalism isn’t the medium; it’s not the newspaper, the TV broadcast or blogging.

It doesn’t need professionals with degrees or training. In fact, for much of journalism’s history, professionals didn’t do it.

Good jour­nal­ism has never been free. At least not until the Internet desta­bi­lized the market for good jour­nal­ism and changed everyone’s expec­ta­tions about how quickly and cheaply news could and should be deliv­ered to the people globally.

The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialities strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Each mem­ber of soci­ety ben­e­fits, whether directly or indi­rectly, from journalism’s con­tri­bu­tion to the demo­c­ra­tic process. So pay­ing for good jour­nal­ism is like mak­ing a dona­tion in sup­port of democ­racy. If you can’t afford to donate, you still ben­e­fit.

Now-a-days journalists are getting paid for their work. Though, there is nothing wrong in this, if they get paid for their worth and talent. When we pay for a news ser­vice, we, as the cus­tomer, are entrust­ing a news orga­ni­za­tion with our money, say­ing “Spend this wisely, and look into things that are impor­tant to me.” A no-cost paper is less trust­wor­thy sim­ply because its cus­tomers are its adver­tis­ers, not its read­ers.

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Plagiarism is something that also hits the ethics of journalism. It includes not just cutting and pasting whole articles, but copying photos, graphics, video and even large text quotations from others and putting them on the web page as well.

Nowadays, newspapers are erroneously filling their pages with wire content. Even today most newspapers continue to make money and reporters continue to do important work.

The other reason journalists used to get paid was that they covered stuff that most people would find it an errand to write up, and others were not struggling to report and for which there was thus no competition.

Paid journalists shouldn’t assume their brand of journalism is automatically superior to that practiced by their unpaid colleagues. If a writer applies a precise set of precision to their pieces before sharing them with the world, we all benefit from that information. Both paid and unpaid, journalists have the responsibility to disclose any conflict of interest as they present their version of the truth.

As high-quality journalists face increasing competition from low-quality unpaid bloggers, the market wage for high-quality journalists will continue to fall. The super-pay wall is more profitable than the status quo, there is in principle some way of dividing the pie in which all contributors are better off.

It’s not clear unerringly what formula or criteria should be used to pay people. It would take some entrepreneurship. Since most readers subscribe to the super-pay wall, it might be difficult for a writer to make a go of it solo, so there would be some leeway with getting the pay right, but not a lot.

Technology is changing far more rapidly than mature skill sets like, writing. This puts pressure and anxiety on digital journalists to be in a stable state of learning so that they can retain their value. What journalist gets paid are partly a product of supply and demand and the result of competitive pressure. Accuracy, proportionality and fairness, as time-honored journalistic values, are well worth adoption by those conversing through social networks.

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