How do you Trust the News in a Digital World?
By Emily Study, SOC Website Reporter
Living in the 21st century, it has become all too easy to access posts, tweets, photos and videos on social media platforms, but how do you trust the news in a digital world?
In hopes of answering this question, the Loyola chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) partnered with the Chicago Headline Club, the largest SPJ chapter in the country, to host a forum on digital media ethics on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Ashton Mitchell, president of the Loyola chapter of SPJ, and Alden Loury, president of the Chicago Headline Club, moderated the discussion, asking the panelists to share their advice on digital ethics in journalism.
“There’s tremendous pressure on news organizations to get the news out there as soon as possible,” said Hugh Dellios, panelist and the news editor for the Illinois Associated Press (AP). “But at this point, the public needs to reward news organizations for being right, [not just fast].”
This pressure for instantaneous news has created a blurred line between valuing expedience over accuracy, which the panel said raises several issues for both news organizations as well as readers in this digital age.
“People are learning to be ethical producers and consumers of content online,” said Meghan Dougherty, panelist and assistant professor of digital communication. “Journalists need to be well-versed in this new space.”
The presence of social media has caused news organizations to face new copyright, privacy, ownership and ethical concerns. “Because [reporters] can get the information, should they use the information without some certain guidelines?” said Beth Konrad, senior professional in residence and faculty advisor for the Loyola chapter of SPJ.
According to Dellios, although social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, provide journalists with an abundance of readily accessible information, news organizations must still follow set guidelines before publishing this content. “Use social media as tip service, but then do your own reporting,” Dellios said. “The old rules still apply.”
He said the AP sticks to its standards by verifying the source and authenticity of photos or videos, whether they are taken from social media sites or otherwise. The AP contacts the author and has the author sign a written release agreeing to give the AP the right to publish the content.
Dellios added that journalists still need to value accuracy above all else, even if it means waiting to publish a story until the facts have been verified. “Waiting takes a lot of planning, patience and courage,” he said.
In doing so, news organizations lessen the likelihood of publishing an error, which in the long run will increase the organization’s credibility, according to Dellios.
However, there is a shared responsibility between the news organizations and their readers for providing and recognizing accurate content, according to panelist Bastiaan Vanacker, assistant professor and program director of the Center for Digital Media Ethics and Policy.
Dougherty agreed. “[Readers] should be able to recognize what characteristics the medium itself is lending to the story; learn how to read different formats,” she said. “Don’t expect anything of the Twitter environment other than immediacy. It’s about expectations in different areas. Readers can be savvy enough to distinguish the difference between social media [and news].”
Thus, both news organizations as well as readers must understand how to use social media sites for sources and information in order to create and trust the news in this digital world.
You can read much more about digital ethics here: www.digitalethics.org.
More Featured Stories
RecognitionHundreds of faculty members turned out Sunday at the Mundelein Center Auditorium for the 2014 Faculty Convocation to celebrate the official opening of the school year.
Go GlobalAre you ready to explore the world and expand your horizons? Then come to Loyola’s annual Study Abroad Fair on Thursday to learn how you can turn your global dreams into a reality.
Adult LearnersStarting in 2015, Loyola will offer several FASTRACK degree programs for adult learners at its Cuneo Mansion & Gardens in Vernon Hills. Courses will be on alternating Saturdays with an online component—perfect for anyone looking to balance work, life, and school.
On CampusLoyola’s Polish studies program is celebrating the legacy of Jan Karski, a Polish humanitarian and hero of WWII, by hosting an international conference on genocide and responsibility on September 18-21.
Health SciencesThe Stritch School of Medicine welcomed more than 200 alumni and guests back to campus for the 2014 Stritch Reunion Weekend, where it also recognized five outstanding alumni.
What’s next?In today’s economy, recent college graduates face fierce competition for jobs. These three members of the Class of 2014, however, were able to stand out from the crowd and find full-time jobs.
Helping othersFour Loyola graduate students were recently selected for the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program and will spend the next year working on healthcare-related projects to help underserved communities in Chicago.
On CampusFounded in 1914, Loyola’s School of Social Work is the oldest of its kind in Chicago and the first to turn 100 years old. To mark the milestone, the school is kicking off its centennial celebration Friday, September 19, on the East Quad of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.
VideosThe service of faith and the promotion of justice is the mission of the Society of Jesus. Our 2014 Founders’ Dinner awards recipients are among the best and brightest examples of living out these Jesuit ideals.
Online contestWe recently celebrated the opening of the newest addition to the Lake Shore Campus—the plaza in the 6300 block of North Kenmore Avenue. We now need your help naming this new eco-friendly open space.
QuinlanWhen Quinlan professors deliver, they deliver—and Michael Hewitt knows how to do that better than just about anyone else. Hewitt, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Quinlan, is leading new research to help companies decrease shipping times in order to increase profits.
SustainabilityLoyola is ranked No. 4 on the Sierra Club’s 2014 list of the greenest colleges in America. The annual rankings are designed to spotlight universities that are deeply committed to environmental responsibility.
AcademicsLoyola is one of just 283 universities to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, a claim that only about 10 percent of the nation’s colleges can make.
In the newsLoyola’s Information Commons joins an elite group of peers on Business Insider’s list of the “coolest” college libraries in the country.
ExploreThe Institute of Environmental Sustainability combines academics and research with agriculture and community living—all in one facility.
Damen CenterThe Damen Center was designed from top to bottom with students in mind, making it the center of social life on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.