Respect the Word – by Giselle Nieves

Have you ever felt so irked by a teacher always telling you to cite all of your resources? Or have you been told to always to summarize in your own words and no to copy word for word your information? Well, they’re not asking you, just to irritate you. They are insisting because it is very important to the ethics of journalism.

The nation got to see the importance of ethics on site on a scandal on the respected talk show, host, Oprah. The issue began when Oprah had introduced a book that she felt impressed by and added it to her book club. The book was called A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and it was a memoir that told very detailed events that had happened to the author. She put the book on the spotlight and made the book and author very popular. But soon, many began to doubt the author and question if his statements were true at all. They accused Oprah and especially Frey of defamation for claiming that all those events had happened to him were true, when they weren’t and ultimately accused of plagiarism by changing the way those statements happened and claimed those were his. This was one the biggest controversies that had happened on the history of Oprah’s show and just shows how important it is to always make sure your statements or information is credible and reliable. The public wants to hear the truth, but too much truth will land you in invasion of privacy.

The Code of Ethics is a set of guidelines for journalists or for anyone publishing anything that helps them know what is right or wrong to create the best quality of information that they can. A person might say ‘Well why can we just say or write whatever we want’? And the answer to that is simply honesty. If you were to write an essay for a class and a classmate copied everything that you had written and just put their name on the paper, wouldn’t that make you mad? What that person did was plagiarism and it is very important to avoid committing it because the owner of where you got your sources from deserves the credit. Not only should you be honest to the public, but you should also respect them. Obscenity and censorship is using ideas, words, or pictures that can contain offensive content and can potentially offend or hurt someone’s feelings. That is a crime and you can get into serious trouble if you’re not careful with what you say. Privacy is something that is personal and should be respected, so it is wrong to go too far into confidential information that is off limits to the public’s knowledge.

Following all these guidelines will make your writing more professional, and of course, legal. The respect and truth is all the public wants. They don’t want to be deceived because as you can see from the comments of the whole controversy of the author and Oprah, they will feel offended.  Ethics in journalism will continued to be used in the future to insure integrity and the highest degree of accuracy and fairness.


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