The 7

The seven cannons of journalism are very interesting because of how it got started. Their was so much sensationalism that the society of newspaper editors created the seven cannons in response to sensationalism which is the use of shocking material: the practice of emphasizing the most lurid, shocking, and emotive aspects of something under discussion or investigation, especially by the media. So you could call these the standards of journalism. These are the standards that are required for good journalism.

The first cannon is responsibility. Now responsibilty has different meanings for different people for example for teens your responsibilty may be to clean up your room while for adults their responsibilty is to take care of the household. Now in the world of journalism responsibilty means that journalists must always consider the public’s welfare. Which means the state of the public how do they feel, what they are thinking, how will this story impact their life and more. And their are three types of responsibilty and their are social, legal and professional. Now social responsibilty is the responsibilty to reflect what events are happening and to carry out this responsibility in a way that shows viewers that they are in the know about what is going on in the world today. Legal is the next  responsibilty and this  responsibilty is to make sure that they are presenting to you the information the right way go through all the legal requirements to bring you the story. And finally the last responsibilty is professional now this responsibilty is to have sincerity and commitment towards its profession basiclly to care about the work the stories that the journalist puts out. They should be albe to present a storyconfidently and satisfactorily.. The presentation must be truthful and unbiased above all and shall never bring any embarrassment or complicacy to the organization anyway in future.

The second cannon is freedom of the press. Now this cannon is important because it protects our right to say what we mean to say and say it like we mean it.  Now this is the guarantee by a government of free public press for its citizens and their associations, extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. It also extends to news gathering and processes involved in obtaining information for public distribution. Not all countries are protected by a bill of rights or the constitutional provision pertaining to Freedom of the Press. Now with freedom of the press we can’t say everything like we mean it. With respect to governmental information, a government distinguishes which materials are public and which are protected from disclosure to the public based on classification of information as sensitive, classified, or secret and being otherwise protected from disclosure due to relevance of the information to protecting the national interest.

And unlike other countries we can cover just about anything we want to cover which is a huge blessing to me especally Government we can actually report on what our government is doing unlike other countries where if you report something on the government you will get consequences and most of the time deadly consequences to be exact. A fun fact for you the founders of the constitution classified government as the fouth estate basiclly the “watchdog” of governmet meaning the public’s eyes and ears to government. The third cannon is independence and what this means is that is the power to write any story you want, with whichever view you wish to put on it, and to have it published with no questions asked. Wow how amazing is that we have the power not to have Government tell us what story or stories  we have to publish. Now in other countries Goverment controlls the media so you have to do what they say. Here is a principle about independence: “Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.” To me, this instructs journalists to never be afraid to do the right thing.

The fouth cannon is sincerity, truthfulness and accuracy. To get a better picture I will talk about each one of them, lets start with sincerity. Sincerity means honesty and genuineness: honesty in the expression of true or deep feelings and a synonym of this word is authenticity. In the world of journalism this means that This means that journalist should be thoughtful to other’s feelings. This means that they should not write slandering remarks towards others, think about what you say before you say it. Another one is truthfulness. Truthfulness means Consistently telling the truth; honest and Corresponding to reality; true. What this means in journalsim is that they try to get the meaning out of every story sometimes it is asking questions that others don’t want to ask and sometimes it means going somewhere that they really don’t want to go to but he reasonwhy they do this is so they can get the most out of the story as they possibily can. Accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built–context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. And finally accuracy, the word accuracy means the condition or quality of being true, correct, or exact; freedom from error or defect; precision or exactness; correctness. This simply means that every story you do must be accurate so your viewers can have the most information. It must be well-sourced, supported by strong evidence, examined and tested, clear and unambiguous. Verified facts must form the basis of all news, not rumour and speculation.

The fifth cannon is importially. News reports or stories should be free from opinion or bias of any kind. This means just because you report on the story does not mean you get the last say so or the last word or your two cents if you will. And the reason why this is important is because the news is not about what you say, what you view, take, opinion on a certain story is, no you are absolutely, not, not, not ,not, not, not, not to say what you mean to say because in the end the news is about letting people make their own views, points, takes, opinions and descide what is important and what is not important to them. The sixith cannon is fair play an established standard of decency, honesty, etc. Now fair play is used in sports a lot. Football, baseball, soccer, track, basketball, dodgeball, hockey, wrestling, swiming, tennis, volleyball, cricket, racing, and so many more. I wish I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, to infinity and beyond about in the world of journalism this means This canon describes that a journalist should not report any kind of slander or negativity of any kind towards someone, or a business without giving them a fair chance to tell their side. Do not judge a book by its cover if you have not opened the story up to take a good look at it.

And the last cannon is decency. Decency means conformity with moral standards: behavior or an attitude that conforms to the commonly accepted standards of what is right and respectable. And in the world of journalism this means how you treat others. The goldern rule treat others the way you want to be treated it maybe just one phrase but it is important as it is one of the of the laws used in the journalism world. Decency is the “quality of conforming to standards of propriety and morality”. Decency is not just a journalism canon, but a character trait that every human in this world should follow. Everyone in the world should be decent in dealing with others. Whether it is in written form or just casual conversation, everyone deserves decent treatment. An example of decency is in editorials about the president. People can have their own opinions, no matter how strong, but they should not write just to bash and slander the president.

Taste, decency and acceptability

Audiences have different reactions to depictions of violence, nudity, coarse language, or to people in any other situation that is unacceptable to or stigmatized by the local culture or laws (such as the consumption of alcohol, homosexuality, illegal drug use, scatological images, etc.). Even with similar audiences, different organizations and even individual reporters have different standards and practices. These decisions often revolve around what facts are necessary for the audience to know.

When certain distasteful or shocking material is considered important to the story, there are a variety of common methods for mitigating negative audience reaction. Advance warning of explicit or disturbing material may allow listeners or readers to avoid content they would rather not be exposed to. Offensive words may be partially obscured or bleeped. Potentially offensive images may be blurred or narrowly cropped. Descriptions may be substituted for pictures; graphic detail might be omitted. Disturbing content might be moved from a cover to an inside page, or from daytime to late evening, when children are less likely to be watching.

There is often considerable controversy over these techniques, especially concern that obscuring or not reporting certain facts or details is self-censorship that compromises objectivity and fidelity to the truth, and which does not serve the public interest.

All these cannons do have a purpose and that is: Its first loyalty is to citizens

While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility, the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers. Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture–not exploit–their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.

So the seven cannons are very important in journalism because they are the foundation of journalism. But I always have to remember that Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.

Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can–and must–pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information. Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built–context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever greater flow of data, they have more need–not less–for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.

And now I leave you with this:

Harm limitation principle

During the normal course of an assignment a reporter might go about—gathering facts and details, conducting interviews, doing research, background checks, taking photos, video taping, recording sound—harm limitation deals with the questions of whether everything learned should be reported and, if so, how. This principle of limitation means that some weight needs to be given to the negative consequences of full disclosure, creating a practical and ethical dilemma. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics offers the following advice, which is representative of the practical ideals of most professional journalists. Quoting directly:

  • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
  • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
  • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  • Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
  • Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
  • Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Know what you do and do what you know.

Braylon Lee

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