Journalism’s ‘New’ Medium Should Maintain Traditions of Ethics, Style
In the past few days I’ve noticed a growing journalism trend around me and I can’t take it anymore. I’ve experienced too many (well, I guess one is too many) and very diverse examples of journalists foregoing rules of ethics, grammar and style.
I’m usually on board with everything online journalism-related, but do words popping up on a screen – and the ability to change them in an instant – remove our principles. Does it matter if we submit copy with hofstra university uncapitalized? Or if we write out two thousand four hundred and 8 dollars? (OK, I made that last one up).
After all, there is an editor standing between the publish button and a reporter. After all, if it gets through the gatekeeper and to the Web, it can be changed immediately.
All to often I’ve seen journalists take the Web as if it wasn’t as indelible on the minds of readers as newspapers are. But what happened to re-reading copy before moving it? Or looking up a term in the AP Stylebook? Now with the number of sloppy copy I’ve come across, it seems that these don’t matter anymore.
In addition, in a discussion with a faculty member at Hofstra, it was said that copy editors are close to extinction as media orgs continue to cut back. An assignment editor can serve as a copy editor, and who needs AP copy anymore when the AP costs so much?
I don’t argue with this point. That as news orgs slice budgets, the copy desk will get sacrificed, but with it will the necessity, the desire and the pride to have clean copy face the chopping block?
There is a misguided assumption out there that the Web is a flaky cousin of a newspaper. That the Internet doesn’t have the same gravitas as a print publication. But it is the content that decides the importance of a story – not whether it appears in print or in HTML.
Therefore, journalists shouldn’t ignore the proper ethical and stylistic traditions that journalism has just because the medium is changing.
Nassau News Live