Where we are from, our gender, religion, family, friends…etc. can affect our reporting and the way we view things. The fact that I am a female, a Muslim, and Arab American has effects on how I view the world. Even though a lot of times we try to get rid of these biases, we will still end up with some unconscious biases.
As mentioned in a video titled How Journalist Minimize Bias, we need to be aware of our biases and the facts that could affect the way we view the world. Also, collecting different resources about the reported subject will minimize the biases in our reporting because we are exposed to different angles of the same story. Lastly, talking to different people regarding the reported subject will give us different insights of the story which can minimize our biases as well.
To balance our reporting, we need to focus on the process of collecting different sources, talking to different people with different perspectives, and being aware of our own biases and what could affect our reporting such as ethnicity, gender, religion,…etc.
The guide states that people have legal rights to open records, for example, police misconduct, how the government spends taxpayer money and any kind of traffic records. People also have the right for open public meetings such as meetings of commissions, councils, and boards.
When it comes to news gathering reporters have limited rights. Reporters can come to a news scene but it depends on whether the property is public, non-public or private. The owners of private property usually have more control over who accesses their property. Public properties have a place and time to when reports can come and access the property.
A journalist should always know their rights when reporting and also be sure about the information that they publish. If publishing a false document, it could affect a reputation and could lead to criminal charges and be taken into court.
Anything that the government does, including salaries and information on money as a citizen you are allowed to ask for the information, and they have 20 days to respond to your request.
SPJ included a video of journalists in one of their articles who spoke on the topic of ethics where one of them mentioned that though journalists are trying to remain neutral, they do in reality have opinions. However, accuracy is more important and is a priority above all else, one journalist simply says it’s “what’s fair.”
As a reporter, a journalist tries to get every perspective. One source cannot run a story because it is begging for bias. Sources must be verified and reporters do this by going to more than one source to check and balance their stories. One journalists puts it like this; If a mother had a child who did something wrong and said that that same child was a straight A student and never got into any trouble with the law, one can’t quickly take her word for it. Rather, it’s important to go to the child’s school and police department to check out those sources as well. It might not be that the parent is lying, yet she may be overcome with grief and feel as if she has to prove her child is pure, just like most parents think their children are.
SPJ puts it clearly: “SPJ Code of Ethics- seek truth and report it, act independently, minimize harm, and be accountable and transparent.”