For extra credit in my class, mass communication, we have to discuss about the seven cannons. So I will start by stating what they are and why it is important. I know this might be a dull blog post. However, they are not that bad and it is interesting what you learn about the media and how far along it has come. Okay, let’s start. The seven cannons of Journalism is important factors to the journalism aspect. Each represent a ethnical code to stand by. Just view it like a guideline for journalists. It was formed in 1923 due to a reaction of the tabloid press. The Canons of Journalism is the first of the print media codes which calls for fairness and accurate reporting. A group of journalists formed an association which were called the “American Society of Newspaper Editors. It was response to the fact over abundance of sensationalism, use of exaggeration and lurid elements to produce a startling effect. In that same year, they developed the ethics of Journalism known today as the seven cannons. The seven cannons are responsibility, freedom of the press, independence, sincerity, truthfulness, accuracy, impartiality, fair play, and decency.
Cannon number one, responsibility. In the book, it describes responsibility as journalists much always consider the public’s welfare. So one might ask what that means. Basically the main idea of it is that the journalists should be considerate of what they are reporting and there may or may not be consequences. Journalists must always consider the public’s welfare and well being. This is very crucial for journalists to remember because who are the people are your audience. The public is what we need to protect which is the fundamental out of the 7 of the canons.
Cannon number two, freedom of the press. The book’s description is that it is the First Amendment rights are to be guarded as vital and unquestionable. To me this is one of the most important canons that are listed. Why, you might ask? Well because without the first amendment, we wouldn’t be able to say what we want to say. Thanks to the wonderful freedom to this amendment, we have the opportunity, as a journalists to express what we think is newsworthy without being held back or being limited to. Thanks to the amendment we now have the right to talk about anything we want. The freedom of the press should be taken seriously though and not pushed to any extremes. Back then, before the seven canons were invented, writers could not report some things. They were limited to what they could say. Now, as a writer or just even as a blogger, we have the right to write whatever we want. For an example, movie critics. Everyone has opinions. Movie critics have the right to see a movie and if they do not like, well guess what? They can and most likely write a truthful and honest review of the movie. Freedom of the press sounds like a great thing, but maybe not to the director of the movie.
Cannon number three, independence. Independence from sources, politics and advertisers is essential. Independence helps a writer be more diverse. In certain types of journalism, some companies require you not to be politically bias. However, the independence you have is the ability to make sure that you are truthful. The sources you get needs to be honest and straight from the source itself. You should always credit your information.
Cannon number four consists a group of things. However it still counts as one cannon. So the fourth cannon is sincerity, truthfulness, and accuracy. This cannon is pretty much understandable. As a journalists, you have to take these in consideration. This would probably rank the second most important canon listed. As our journalist you need to be sincer in majority of your stories. For example, if the story is about a certain natural disaster, you can only imagine how much grief and sorrow that goes into the story. A natural disaster affects the readers. So show so humility to your story and be considerate. Truthfullness is self explainatory as well. Be truthful in your posts. Make sure if it isn’t your thought, give the source credit. For example, if I were to use a source on the seven canons and use some facts, I would do it like this. “In 1975, another code was again adopted by yet another organization named the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME). This time around, the codes are about responsibility, accuracy, integrity and independence. In 1995, the code was then revised to cover issues such as plagiarism and diversity.In late 1999, another organization came into the picture. A newspaper chain called the Gannett Company, was the first to use ethical principles for the content of its papers. They’ve took upon this decision mainly because of the growing distrust that the public has on the media. They wish to regain the trust of the public and to reassure them that their contents are not inaccurate or unfair. “The new guidelines forbid, among other things, lying to get a story, fabricating news, and publishing misleading alterations of photographs.” The source that I got the facts is from APME’s site (http://www.apme.com/). Accuracy would be the information that I give is true and accurate. What you read is what is true.
Canon number five is impartiality. Impartiality is news reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind. Like I said earlier, if you are in the media, especially in news, you are to unbias to any political issue or any opinion you have. You are there to report the news and nothing else. You opinion does not account. The next canon goes hand to hand to impartiality.
Cannon number six is fair play. Fair play is opposing views should be solicited on public issues and accusations papers should publish prompt and complete corrections of mistakes.
Canon number seven is deceny. Decency is papers should avoid “deliberate pandering to vicious instincts” such as details of crime and vice.
With these guidelines, journalists can be accountable of being worthy of the ethics code.