Truth & objectivity: post modern casualties or victims of PR piracy?

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Mark Twain, the famous author of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, once wrote “if you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” How true is a news story on newspaper? Who can guarantee the truth and objectivity of the news?

 

Today journalists have so many techniques to make the news story more interesting. They can angle the story, frame the content in such a way that it will attract readers’ attention within the first paragraph (I guess that is what we, journalism students, have been studying). Sometimes  these techniques make the truth in a story changes. Tapsall and Varley (2001) also highlighted the fight for truth as an entity in journalism, which is not to be considered an oxymoron, is becoming increasingly difficult.

 

One of the factor in the change of journalism practice is public relations. Today public relations practitioners tend to portray a very good image about their organizations/clients. It is undeniable that many journalists rely on public relations people as a source of news. Hundreds pieces of news releases by PR practitioners are sent to journalists everyday to be published. Journalists’ work sometimes is as simple as editing the news releases and sending for publishing. While PR is subjective, ‘truthfulness’ is the responsibility of both journalists and PR practitioners. Their relationship can be mutually beneficial and symbiotic. Who can ensure the objectivity in the news releases sent my PR practitioners whose main work is to maintain a very good image of their clients to the public?

 

“Respect for the truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism” (Australian Commonwealth, 2010). Although there is controversy over this issue, I still believe that there is still ethical journalists and ethical PR practitioners who want to serve the greater good.

 

 

References

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Australian Commonwealth. (2010). Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) Description. Retrieved July 28, 2011 from    http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/289039/fromItemId/815972/quickLinkId/815429/whichType/org

Tapsall, S. & Varley, C. (2001). Journalism: Theory in Practice. Oxford University Press: South Melbourne.

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