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Conflict of Interest Cont.

by on November 3, 2016

Last week we discussed a conflict of interest and we looked and debated what we deemed as ethical and unethical in terms of conflict of interest. One thing from that conversation was deciding whether or not to include political stickers or signs on our front yard. In my opinion based on a journalist’s perspective to remain unbiased, especially when covering politics, it would be inappropriate for a journalist to have those said signs on their front lawns.

But does this apply to political issues as well? In class putting a black lives matter sign on our front yard could be deemed unethical as well, because you are making a political statement. In class we also talked about the importance of putting nothing political on your Facebook, but this week I faced an ethical dilemma.

The dilemma was sharing my location as Standing Rock, North Dakota in solidarity with the protestors. Was doing this showing my political beliefs? Was I being an unethical journalist for wanting to show solidarity with those protestors? I told myself, no, because in this instant I felt that I was giving a voice to the voiceless.

I feel like the coverage of the pipeline has been covered very poorly, at first it wasn’t even covered at all and pushed under the rug, now that it is covered the majority of articles I see there is generally a less than favorable opinion towards the protestors. NBC News had published an article that focused mainly on antagonizing the protestors, by interviewing mainly the police forces, and not the actual protestors. CNN did an article entitled Not All Standing Rock Sioux are protesting the pipeline, while it still featured voices against the Pipeline I feel like that title creates a big difference. This media coverage was something that prompted me to continue my support with DAPL.

But am I still being unethical? Is my opinion on this wrong? What if I make a post about BLM? What if this was ten years ago and I made a post about supporting Gay Marriage or Trans People? As journalists do we just completely stay silent or do we use our power to give voices, and have people understand more about the voiceless? Im curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.

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4 Comments
  1. aoates1995 permalink

    I do not see anything wrong with standing for something, especially if you’re directly affected by the subject at hand. I do think it is important to let readers and potential sources know where you stand.

  2. I agree and think that a journalist still has the right to share where they stand on a certain topic. When it comes down to it, we are all human and are all going to have some sort of opinion on any given topic. This, to some extent, makes a complete bias is impossible. I think that on your personal Facebook or social media you have to right to share your views, in a respectful way. In your professional life as a journalist reporting a story, this however, is not appropriate. As Amber said, letting readers know where you stand on an issue if it effects the story is also important.

  3. I also have been questioning this matter as well. I agree that taking a stance for something you believe in is good, but I’m not sure if that’s completely appropriate as a journalist as Caitlin commented. It is so hard to not be biased especially on subjects that matter to you strongly. Then, it raises the question to whether or not you should report it at all. Letting the readers know about the matter is important, but are all journalists fully confident on being unbiased when reporting? Is it always the best option to be unbiased and not taking sides at all? I remember we talked about this before, but I’m still struggling to decide which is the better option.

  4. As journalists, we are supposed to remain unbiased when reporting the news but I believe that there have to be extenuating circumstances to this rule. These circumstances are up to the journalist themselves but when reporting if you are so moved by a protest that you feel the ethical need to participate in this event then you should do it. The problem arises if you continue to report that protest. In class, we talked about whether or not newspapers should supply their readers with their opinion on the subject and I agree. If you were to attend a BLM protest and participate in the protest you should put in your article that you were among the crowd and recount the observations from the crowds perspective.
    When looking at the DAPL, an event that you say has been poorly covered, it’s extremely important to put the protestors’ perspective into the article and as a protestor yourself maybe you have a perspective no one else has seen.

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