• Subject Name : Journalism 3

Ethics and Norms


The purpose of the reading is to derive a sense of the news and understand the issue of the trust, due to the journalism approach and as the news is getting digitalized channelized into the multi-platforms of news production. The issue of trust in news media is due to the lack of credible sources of finding concrete information and even using the unethical ways of journalism, to make it popular and most viewed article. Historically to maintain the news legacy, journalism and the news media have even used unethical practices such as hacking phones to producing fake news, to the point that the general public has lost their trust over the news information (Schranz, 2018). As over the years, the journalism and the news media has undergone the major digitalization using the multiple platforms of the online news production and accessibility, the news is no longer a static product, but it has become a continuous ongoing news package that is under the constant alteration (Otto, 2018). News used by the public is basically to know the transparent and unbiased daily everyday affairs that can be used to engage effectively within their civic life. But due to the unreliable media and unethical practices by the news agency, the public has lost their trust. In the past 25 years, there has been a rapid transformation of globalization and an era of digitization, that has resulted in news agency collate information to be presented in the digitization manner, rather than following the traditional model of publication. The traditional model of newspaper, which was filed with news and advertisements generating higher advertising revenues, has now evolved in the online platforms, which is digital monetizing the lower returns and caused redundancies in information. To remain existent with the public and be part of the information league, the news agencies have resorted to unethical and unreliable practices that have kept the public uninformed, resulting in loss of trust (Usher, 2018).

Summary of Key points

As Coleman (2012, p.36) has asserted, that “News media trust is to build and deliver a common knowledge, for the general public to collectively include information as a shared concern". The questions remains on how to build and rely upon the news media that has remained prevalent with the changing phases of the nature of news ‘trust’ (Tejkalová, et al, 2018). The public does need information, but with full faith, trust, and credibility to use the information. Due to the unethical practices and the news media following non professionalism and standard norms of generating information, the public has lost its trust. Trust and low accountability of credible news and information, has caused a growing disconnection in the normative ideal for any informed citizen who has been facing complex influences due to the news credibility in the digital era. Subsequently, the low trust has created a tension in between the ideal of trust and there has been consumer skepticism of experiencing the ‘fake news’. The digital news environment has been influenced by the varied ways of presenting the information globally. The same piece of information can be presented differently and there would be strong support for verification and softer attitudes towards verification. The news remains in the liquid state, ready to be changed with thoughts, new information, and verification. It is also a belief, that online news published has a lower demand, so before it is published the verification of the information can be done during the information, rather than before publishing it (Manninen, 2017). The news media agency biasedness and the presentation of the facts, or resorting to the unethical norms and practices also show differences between organizational cultures along with the liberty of presenting the information between countries (Köhler, 2017). The news verification can be larger to the extent of accepting the inaccuracies in the online news. For example, while the journalists in Poland and Russia, believe in verifying the credibility of the source before publishing, the same has not been reflected in the Sweden news agencies that have the journalistic culture approach towards going by the opinions rather than facts. The credibility of the sources can be purely within the media that is a turnout of the events in the medium, or channel credibility that can be referred to the medium from which the news information is relayed; Similarly is the source credibility, which is the trusted provider of the information; and the message credibility, that identifies the trust information content.

Discussion points

The question remains the same to trust and depend on the news media, who can present the fake information and even be part of the scandalized events, by adopting unethical practices and norms or to adopt ethical measures of presenting the credible news information, remains a point of discussion. Two terms that have been denoted with the news agencies and with journalism are the fair truth and the verification element. Public can refer to the piece of information within the democratic environment as unbiased and less controlled, while in the autocratic the same piece information can be controlled, regulated, and be strongly be opinionated (Lewis, 2020). The relevant news can true and accurate depends on the credibility and sourcing of information. The role of the journalism, whether working in the liberal or autocratic environment, has to be disciplined to the verification of the facts that would be non-fictional and be transparent. Providing true information which is the source and credible has to be based on the strong foundation along with representing the democratic status. Although news reporting is true while opinionating the news information and making it reliable, unbiased, and current to the events, that can be fact-based truth. Verification of the news should be the standard professional practice of the journalists that can separate the information from the entertainment, having op-ed news or be with an agenda, paid sources, or simply having art or pure fiction. The news applicable in the daily work depends on the value of verification that can be codified into formal ethical principles globally. For example, in Sweden, the process of the ‘accurate news’ is the part of following the conduct of professional ethical rules standards that are practiced by professional journalists (Lee, 2018). The code states firstly, The role that has been followed by mass media in society and for the improved confidence of the general public that can have the accurate and objective news reports', and secondly, to be critical of the news and check facts before it is published. The news agency, while presenting the information traditionally such as circulating through the door to door newspapers or through the television is more credible, reliable, and dependable news as they present the news face to face in unmediated communication. The same news when presented digitally, is published first, then sourced, verified, and even altered. Online news is mainly based on the impact of using the technical features that are dictated by the algorithms used to share through social media. The digital media uses the keywords found in the "news content" due to which it is maximum times hit or viewed by the users (Heravi, 2016). The news and the trustor credible sources, is an ongoing attempt to structure the news platform to adopt reliable measures that can help to share the vast news through media channels, whether it is traditionally or through the digital platform (Fink, 2019). With the rapid media technology changes, there has been a diversity of trust-building and the yield of different responses that can be measured with the news shared, message derived, and with the medium of the sources. Even if the news is shared by the media organization, individual credible journalist, through the particular newspaper, app, or the online channels, the question remains the same if the trust in the news media, can help to reduce the complexities and make it a more dependable source or not? News consumers rely on the news agencies to present the factual, verified, and even reliable, accurate interpretation that can be used with the technical features, having interactivity, navigability along with the aesthetic appeal. It should remain free from the algorithm trust, that present the information in the sequenced preferences of the individual and on the online connections (Fletcher, 2017).

The news media has the professional commitment to verify facts, check the accuracy, and even follow the ethical guidelines that remain challenge externally as well as internal factors. The journalists can feel external pressures to fabricate or present the fake news, due to the professional threats, sources, but also by the news management (Arora, 2019). The challenge to present the information in the true picture remains a threat and upholds the traditional professional values. Similarly, the internal pressures within the presentation of news and the ideas reflected the journalists, should follow the meticulous process of giving less attention to fact-checking and presenting a critical investigation. Subsequently, through the cross-verify action of the established journalistic practice can help to check the facts and truth. While social media offers to be an additional channel of the distribute content, but the news presented by the traditional gatekeeping journalist can use the unethical measures to be more popular and can bypass news organizations standard of practices that shape information (Almgren, 2017)


Q1: How strong commitment to identifying the news and the role of journalists in evaluating verification in the daily work?

 Q2: Are there any perceived differences concerning verification among journalists working for different channels/platforms or between journalists of different ages?

References for The Biggest Challenge Facing Journalism

Almgren, S. (2017). News users’(dis) trust in media performance: Challenges to sustainable journalism in times of xenophobia.

Arora, V. M., Rousseau, D., & Schwitzer, G. (2019). Why bolstering trust in journalism could help strengthen trust in medicine. Jama321(22), 2159-2160.

Fletcher, R., & Nielsen, R. K. (2017). People dont trust news media–and this is key to the global misinformation debate. AA. VV., Understanding and Addressing the Disinformation Ecosystem, 13-17.

Fink, K. (2019). The biggest challenge facing journalism: A lack of trust. Journalism20(1), 40-43.

Heravi, B. R., & Harrower, N. (2016). Twitter journalism in Ireland: sourcing and trust in the age of social media. Information, communication & society19(9), 1194-1213.

Lee, T. T. (2018). Virtual theme collection:“Trust and credibility in news media”. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly95(1), 23-27.

Lewis, S. C. (2020). Lack of trust in the news media, institutional weakness, and relational journalism as a potential way forward. Journalism21(3), 345-348.

Köhler, A., & Otto, K. (2016, November). The Impact of the European Debt Crisis on Trust in Journalism. In Presentation given at the ECREA Conference Prague (Vol. 11).

Manninen, V. J. (2017). Sourcing practices in online journalism: an ethnographic study of the formation of trust in and the use of journalistic sources. Journal of Media Practice18(2-3), 212-228.

Tejkalová, A., de Beer, A. S., Berganza, R., Kalyango Jr, Y., Amado, A., Ozolina, L., ... & Masduki. (2017). In Media We Trust: Journalists and institutional trust perceptions in post-authoritarian and post-totalitarian countries. Journalism Studies18(5), 629-644.

Otto, K., & Köhler, A. (Eds.). (2018). Trust in media and journalism: Empirical perspectives on ethics, norms, impacts and populism in Europe. Springer.

Otto, K., & Köhler, A. (2018). Trust in media and journalism. In Trust in Media and Journalism (pp. 1-15). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Schranz, M., Schneider, J., & Eisenegger, M. (2018). Media trust and media use. In Trust in Media and Journalism (pp. 73-91). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Usher, N. (2018). Re-Thinking Trust in the News: A material approach through “Objects of Journalism”. Journalism studies19(4), 564-578.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Journalism Assignment Help

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