The seven canons of journalism were founded in order to limit the over abundance of sensationalism during the founding of the newspaper. The seven canons are made up of 1)Responsibility 2) Freedom of the Press 3) Independence 4)Sincerity, Truthfulness, and Accuracy 5)Impartiality 6)Fair Play 7)Decency.
To begin our discussion on the 7 canons of journalism, we will talk about the responsibility of the press. They must ALWAYS consider the public’s welfare. As you’ll see throughout this blog that the 7 canons of journalism are very closely related. And with protecting the public’s welfare, It’s important to always be honest, but not give information that will harm the general public.
Our #2 canon is Freedom of the Press. Obviously, It’s important to always view our 1st amendment rights as vital and unquestionable. As a journalist, you must know that the truth must be spoken, and it’s your right to do it. Many times when a truth about an individual in a position of power is revealed that is harmful to their image, but must be presented to the general public, journalists can be pushed by those individuals to keep that information secret. However, the journalists must be honest, and speak the truth.
Our #3 canon is one of Independence. If a journalist has ties to any sources, political parties, or advertisers, there may be a very large bias in the news that they write and report about. It is essential to stay independent from those entities so that the whole truth will always be told without outside influence. I like to think of it like a jury during a trial. They are told to not watch the news on TV about the trial, or to read the newspaper about the trial, all because they don’t want outside ideas to influence their way of thinking, or to sway them away from what they truly think is right and correct.
Our #4 canon is Sincerity, Truthfulness, and Accuracy. I personally find this canon the most important one. If there is no sincerity presented in the news, it’s hard to truly trust it. Many individuals in broadcast as well as journalism know how to put on a great show for people, but more often than not it’s easy to spot a story that isn’t written in true sincerity. Also, without truthfulness, stories are invalid.There cannot be falsified news floating around or “gossip” as the general public would call it. It’s vital to understand how truly important truthfulness is when you (the journalist) is the gatekeeper of information to the general public. Lastly, Accuracy is vital. Generally speaking, when someone is inaccurate in a story, it was an accident. That’s why it is so very important to know and understand who your sources are for the information you are writing about. This mostly comes back to having genuine relationships with other individuals within the journalism realm, so there is a true genuine trust between you and your sources of information, and you can always trace back your information to a reliable source.
Our #5 canon is Impartiality. I feel like this canon really bounces back to our #3 canon Independence. Impartiality means that it must remain free from any opinion or bias of any kind. Often times, if a journalist can remain independent as well as think within the realm of true journalism (avoid opinions) then stories can be written that are impactful, and have true content and character. I think that there is a very large number of individuals within journalism that struggle with this. It’s easy when you have strong opinions about a topic to write a story about the same topic and let a few of those opinions slip out, even subliminally throughout your story. Like I said, it can be extremely challenging to some individuals to do this.
Our #6 canon is Fair Play. This idea basically revolves around the fact that opposing views should be solicited on public issues and accusations. Papers should publish prompt and complete correction of mistakes within the newspaper. I do not really have any opinions concerning this canon of journalism except that I agree with it. It’s important to always seek after and know what other people have to say, and whether or not they agree with you, and if not, then why not. Criticism of our opinions and beliefs aren’t always a bad thing, often times they are a very very good thing because it reveals more to us about why we stand on what we stand on and why we believe the things that we do. It’s ok to be challenged in what we believe, but in that, we must have a very strong knowledge of our stance in whatever issue is being challenged or disagreed with.
Last but not least, our #7 canon of journalism is Decency. Papers should avoid “deliberate pandering to vicious instincts” such as details of crime and vice. I feel like this canon also ties back into our #1 canon, responsibility. It’s the journalists responsibility to understand what needs to be told to the public, and what does not. I’ve read stories in the past that disclosed way too much information, and i’ve also read stories that left me wondering more about the situation. There is a very fine line between disclosing too much information and not enough information.
Overall, I feel like the 7 canons of journalism is a great set of rules and regulations to live by as journalists and broadcasters. If all 7 canons were maintained throughout each and every story, each and every story would be presented in a very professional, unbiased manner which maintained it’s character, integrity, and content.
—(For the Professor) I know that i didn’t even come close to 2000 words, but if each 100 words are worth 1 point then i am more than pleased with earning 9-10 extra points. Thank you again so much for the opportunity for the extra credit! I know also that I am getting this in a little later than you would like ( I was hoping to shoot for midnight), but i got off work extra late tonight and have been scurrying around trying to pack to head home and then i had to get there as well before i had a chance to actually get to work on this.