Week 10- Katelyn Black

Although it may not seem like it to some communicators, Ethics is a huge question when it comes to mass communication in our society. The biggest question I have had throughout the duration of our hybrid class, and many years before that, is the object-ability (or lack there of) of projects created to send a message to broad audiences. After all, there is no such thing as a human being without an opinion. And furthermore, there is absolutely no possible way to create a piece of work without having some sort of bias about the subject. To even begin to comprehend how a  subject can come to life through a media portrayal shows that you have passion and an opinion on the matter, otherwise you wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing the project to life in the first place.

Lauren Kessler has quoted on multiple occasions, “It is only a problem if you don’t think it’s a problem” and I think this absolutely applies to the question of ethics. By assuming that you are being objective in your portrayal of a story, you fall even more into the trap of being controlled by your opinions and biases. However, by understanding your bias on the matter, you are more apt to be transparent about your goals in breathing life into the matter. WITNESS is a great example of one of the multimedia sites we have seen that plays into this transparency. The content creators are clearly showing how they feel about a matter, and allowing viewers to witness the reality behind situations that we were not present for. They are not afraid to play into their bias and therefore, the question of ethics falls on the moral standards of the people that are taking advantage of these citizens without any regards to backlash through the online portrayal. WITNESS videos have been able to serve as a testament to the realities behind these wrongdoings and therefore serve to question the very ethics within their own society.

I believe that this online version of ethical “checks and balances”, when an opinion is clearly defined, will serve us greatly in the future. As we have seen in our texts, online grassroots intermediaries have gained large amounts of ground in keeping conglomerates in check, when they previously did not have the clout and market backing to do so. However, now that they have been provided with online platforms to unify the group’s concerns, they can no longer be ignored by these companies, and are able to create change through their collective voice. I hope that the internet continues to act as an ethical fairground for this type of interaction between the 99% and the 1% that has been previously untouchable. By unifying ourselves through online means, only then can the 99% stand a chance in policy change and social justice. Otherwise, we will continue to be taken advantage of and mutualized by the people that hold the most power and clout in the governments eyes, the fortune 500 companies (and their lobbyists) that have successfully run this country into the ground. (Which is my opinion, but it’s become pretty evident since the fall of the economy).

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2 comments to Week 10- Katelyn Black

  • lpaters5@uoregon.edu

    I too like to think of the Internet as a place to gather and share your voice no matter what your social or political standing. Though the banks, fortune 500 companies, and the rest of the 1% may have clout when it comes to online ads, public relations, and connections, they can’t stop a video from going viral and spreading all over the internet from phone to laptop and beyond. As journalists, we have to think about our own ethical practices, but I like your point about ethical “checks and balances,” because part of the work of journalist should be (and especially in the time we’re living) about questioning the ethics of those in power, and those making decisions who affect everyone else’s lives.

  • kblack7@uoregon.edu

    I completely agree that the current era we are living, arguably the information age, is an important factor for us to consider as journalists, especially as we will continue to see trends favor the clout of online intermediaries.

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