Filed under: J840 Week 4, Society + Media | Tags: advocacy journalism, advocacy Journalist, Ellen W. Horowitz, journalism, journalistic ethics, objective journalism, Society of Professional Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, unbiased journalism
Advocacy journalism is not a pure form of journalist because it’s not objective, and objectivity is the one attribute that defines “journalism” from all other writing or speaking styles. There’s a difference between a “writer” and a “journalist.” Writers write because they have something to say, journalists write (or broadcasts) because they have something to share and/or inform with others through media. And although both may be gifted in similar ways, it’s important not get the two arts confused. For example, someone who writes a sport column about game predictions and play-by-play anecdotes is not a “journalist”—that’s a “columnist.”
What do these terms mean anyways?
Terms surrounding journalism, like objectivity and advocacy, are commonly used and people are often desensitized to them. That stated, I thought I should go Mr. Webster to revisits the definitions.
Hmmm…it’s difficult to express a viewpoint while lacking favoritism. What I found more interesting is a statement from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:
“Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.”
(Seriously, cut and pasted directly from the public document.)
What’s your opinion worth?
I do not deem myself an expert in the philosophical rhymes and reasons of ethical journalism; I’m in PR for goodness sake, but I am thoroughly educated in purposes of writing styles. I write in the PR capacity for clients everyday. After giving PR writing some consideration one could determine it to be advocacy journalism, but I am far from a journalist and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, I do consider myself a writer, take pride in my profession and have a significant respect for all writing styles. For all of those reasons, I hope the world of journalism remains untainted. The public deserves a (per the U.S. Constitution) and depends on genuine journalist to deliver unbiased, relevant information—-not an opinion. All of media will lose credibility when people begin believing all journalism is one-sided and skewed, which devalues all forms of writing/broadcasting—even advocacy journalism.
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