The Ethically Invisibile
Trauma is a thing. So is PTSD. Journalists witness and report on trauma everyday, and if they’re worth their salt, they do it ethically (though the handling of trauma reporting is a skill that is woefully under-taught, turns out). And journalistic integrity is upheld not only by journalists but by the people keeping an eye on them (which is everyone). So there’s a measureable degree of dissonance if we stop to consider that while we’re so busy keeping journalists ethical (and simultaneously demanding to know ALL THE THINGS), many journalists who witness trauma receive no support from the news outlets who buy their stories. We expect them to be there, on the scene, getting us the news, but then conveniently forget that journalists are people, too, and that even journalists can get PTSD. Like, duh. It’s time news outlets check their own ethics, and start supporting the reporters who keep them afloat.
The Freedom Fight
Most journalists and journalism advisers are going to run into the old problem at one point or another: censorship. A conservative school administration, a nervous publisher, censorship is a thing that’s not going away. And the naysayers won’t go away either; there will always be people who want to minimize the value of our right to freedom of expression. This is a fight for the bold, and it’s a tough one, but it’s one worth staying engaged in. Because if you don’t, who will?
Social Media Assault
It’s tough being the most popular kid on the block, and Facebook got that message (yet again) last week when four people in Chicago used Facebook Live to broadcast themselves torturing a man with special needs. It’s awful, stupid and disgustingly cruel, and unfortunately, it’s the nature of the live-streaming beast: Facebook Live can be used to broadcast anything. So what now? Last month Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft talked about creating a shared database to track and remove terrorist propaganda using digital fingerprints, but unless companies offering live-streaming video services also invest in diligent editors, the database might not be enough to keep this kind of thing from happening again. Facebook is all about innovation, but it looks like now it’s time to pay the ethical-responsibility piper.
But, Why Though?
While Facebook bangs it’s head against a wall trying to figure out the problem with live-streaming video service, we can scratch our own heads and wonder: why in the world would those kids commit such a terrible act in the first place, let alone stream it? How much of it was just that they could- that all they needed to do was open an app and the whole world could watch them torture someone? Would it have happened if there were no audience? Is this a matter of life imitating… access? Technology? What?? Whatever the rationale, it’s disturbing, and not ok.
This Also Happened: The Golden Globes happened, and Meryl Streep used her acceptance speech to call out the president-elect for mocking a disabled reporter. Then she she asked the press to safeguard the truth, especially in the face of the new administration. And that’s why we love her. Streep ‘20. But if award shows aren’t your thing and you just want a 2016 throwback hit from before things got really weird, here are some classic dog-or comparisons. Enjoy.