25th March, 2015. 1:38pm
NaBloPoMo, Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Are bloggers journalists? Why or why not? If they are journalists, should they be held to journalistic standards? Why or why not?
Creative writing requires an elaborate, actively wild imagination, but when it comes to “the real thing”, ie; news reporting, it is always, ALWAYS advisable to follow the principles of ethics and good practice. No, wait. It’s not advisable. It’s mandatory.
Good work ethics doesn’t just mean that you have to tell the truth. No. It’s goes beyond that. As a journalist, you have to be reliable, someone who does his or her job by following the journalism ethics and standards. We know how dirty the real journalism industry can be. There are a lot of good journalists out there that does their job the best way they can, but there are also some who breaks the rules (and sadly, get away with it) just for the sake being talked or gaining readers. But what about bloggers? Can we consider ourselves as journalists?
Depending on what you blog about, I’d say yes. Whether you are a fashion blogger or one that focuses on photography and/or travel stories, hair and make-up review and tutorials, TV and Movie review or (most importantly) one that shares and gives insights about life in general, it is important to do it in an ethical manner.
Just what do I mean by that?
It means that if you are writing, say a book, movie or TV show review, it is always better if you can present your story with both the good and bad side. It’s not fair to share the pros without letting your readers know what you thought is wrong about it. It is also advisable to check, double check, and triple check your facts before publishing your work. Whether it’s a quote that someone says or an image that you got via the Internet, keep in mind that you should always, ALWAYS give credit to its rightful owner.
I once come across a quote that says, “Imitating may be the best form of flattery, but not the best form of writing.” Ever since I found that quote, I’ve always used it as my signature on my other blog. I forgot now where I got it from, I tried Googling about it and failed miserably, but that quote was etched in my mind like a tattoo.
Ever since I started taking up my journalism subjects in College, I have learned that it is not ethical for someone to copy and paste someone else’s work, edit it a little, and publish it as your own. Good journalism doesn’t work that way. Even if it’s not as important as breaking news, it is still very important to write a unique content every single time. Why did you even become a writer in the first place if you’re just going to copy someone else’s work?
There’s one more thing I want to address other than writing; the use of images. One of the upsides of having Google is its accessibility. It allows us to look for anything in just a few taps on the keyboard. However, one of its major downsides is that people think that, because it’s out there on the Internet and they found it by googling for it or checking the hashtag, they can already claim it as their own.
IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
You have no idea how many times I have heard of people stealing someone else’s photo, cropping it, editing it, putting their own watermarks on it and publishing it as their own without even telling where they got it from (*this is a true story; no exaggeration there). I have experienced it myself. Guess what? Putting CTTO (Credit to the Owner) isn’t enough! You know how to Google, you know how to use Photoshop, surely you know which website that photo really belonged to?
It makes me so angry when this happened. These photos didn’t come out of nowhere. It was taken by real people and, most of the time, people who worked so hard to perfect those photos. Do not take what’s not yours and publish it as your own. Have the decency to let everyone know who truly owns it, and before you even start editing them, have the gull to ask the owner FIRST.
Whether or not you consider yourself a journalist, you should still follow good work ethics and standards. Gaining followers is one thing, but doing it the right way is better. Don’t write just to gain readers and followers. Write because it makes you uncomfortable to not write. And when you do, write that is, do it with accuracy, fairness, and truthfulness.