The media institution is a broad and influential platform at the local and global levels. Nonetheless, there are numerous controversies associated with the adherence of certain ethical principles in journalism. The zeal exemplified by members of the press may conflict with the ethical values upheld by the community. For example, journalists strive to present a remarkable story as part of their career development strategies and satisfy the curiosity of the overwhelming population who rely on this institution to understand certain issues in the community. However, I do not agree with the assertion that members of the press should not let the truth interfere with the presentation of a good story. This is because of the respect portrayed by the general population towards the media. Accordingly, altering the details of a crucial story will equate to misleading a large percentage of the public and may result in conflicts or reduced social, economic, or political advancements.
Based on the problems highlighted in this discussion regarding this ethical issue, following the rules set to govern the media is vital in guiding the public. The media have an overwhelming number of followers especially with the modern technological advancements, which enhances the accessibility of information on various issues affecting the society. Moreover, adhering to the ethical rules is a worthy course that aids in the promotion of certain values in the community. It is also important for journalists to understand that the strategies and decisions involved in presenting exciting stories to the general populace have consequences with reference to their career and values promoted by people who admire them. For example, the actions of Michael Kelly, who was Stephen Glass’ editor, do not depict integrity. He supported Glass’ idea of using fabricated information in his articles and threatened anyone who attempted to hinder this unethical strategy. This may have negatively affected people who considered him their role model, in addition to causing a serious setback in his career and ruining his reputation.
Nonetheless, I perceive the high level of competition in this institution as the main instigator of this ethical problem that has been increasing on a daily basis. For instance, organizations that offer products within the mass media docket aim at increasing their market share and the resultant profits. Magazines, newspapers, and radio and television stations strive to increase their productivity especially due to the increasing number of organizations in mass media. This pressure affects the work of the members of press since they have to compile attention-grabbing stories that will increase the popularity of these companies. This may occur at the expense of other people’s reputation or certain ethical values governing their proceedings. This is evident in Stephen Glass’ case where he wrote an article about the incompetence in Jukt Micronics. This fabricated story claimed that the management of this computer network corporation hired a young person, who hacked into their system, as an employee in their IT security department. This explains the malice that may occur due to the quest by a journalist to present an eye-catching piece of information to the public.
Such journalists should understand the possible consequences of their actions. For instance, Janet Cooke experienced massive embracement after alleging to have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism and winning an award. The revelation of her fraudulent nature led to an end in her journalism career, and she had to return the acquired prize. Similar circumstances are evident in Jayson Blair’s situation regarding his deliberate plagiarism act. He plagiarized information in another journalist’s article, an act that resulted in great humiliation and setback, in his career. Accordingly, no situation should justify such actions by the members of the press.