Who doesn't remember the tragic and disturbing story Josef Fritzl keeping his daughter in his basement dungeon for over 20 years? As journalism evolves reporters are digging deeper and deeper into personal lives. We are investigating and hoping to find out as much as possible. We want to show and educate the world on what we know, but sometimes journalists forget the emotions that come with a story like that.
As a journalist I am to be objective, but does that mean that I should lack compassion? It seems as though some journalists will do anything in order to get a story. And there are some stories that will wreck lives and relationships.
Thing of Tiger Woods. Journalists just kept digging deeper and deeper to find out what happened. His personal life has been exposed, and is that fair? Would we do this to someone we knew personally? Would we have shown this of the normal guy off the street? Would we do that if Tiger Woods had been a family member, or a close friend? What if we were that person?
I am guilty of being stoic and determined at times. I'm not saying that getting an interview and story causes me to overlook the feelings of others, but when there's a hot topic story that I have good interviews for, or a strong stance on, I may neglect the feelings of the audience while reading the story. Knowing that certain audience members may feel uncomfortable at times, but as long as I am being objective and accurate I feel like I am doing fine.
I can never be emotion-less with someone I am interviewing. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always have a smile. My voice and happy nature is so bubbly that in order to be taken seriously I am sticking with print. But reading it in print is not always going to convey the message in the way one would hope.
Are journalists becoming less caring of others? Are we giving into sensationalism? Was it necessary for everyone to know about Tiger Woods or David Letterman? Just because they are public figures does that mean that we deserve to know every lie they tell? Does their fame automatically give a journalist the right to publish stories on their personal life? Would we do this with any average person?
The reason I even started on this topic is an article I just saw on Fark.com.
"Single mum had sex 191 times with boy, 12"
The article seems like it required investigation and a lot of legal work. Does this woman, who is now seen as a criminal and a pedophile deserve to have her photo there? And did anyone think of the reprecussions that this may have on that boy? Even if the boy isn't mentioned; it won't be hard to find out who the boy was.
I was reading an article in the local newspaper about 5 teenage girls that got into a car crash. It said that the driver was driving her father's truck, and then downward in the article it said the name of the person whom the car was registered to. That completely destroyed the anonymity of the girl. If that isn't the name of her father (which, if it's her father's truck I am sure it is), then it's someone who is close to her, and that will make it easier to identify the girl as well as the other teenagers in the crash.
I'm not saying I wouldn't cover these stories, and I am not saying they shouldn't be covered. But I think the format, media, and way that the stories are presented, as well as who the reporter decides to interview and how much time he or she decides to take in order to make the article accurate vs. being the first one to get the story out.
"Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine." -- Walter Cronkite