From the times of Walter Williams to now, journalism and especially ethics have been changing. Ethics in journalism is very important for journalists in today’s society. Williams was a 20th century journalist that founded the first American journalism school, the School of Journalism at Indiana University (Ibold). He brought a global perspective to journalism at a critical point while American journalism and code of ethics were developing (Ibold). Everything changes with time. So, has ethics in journalism changed from the past to now? And are ethics more important now than they may have been in the past? Ethics in journalism has changed from the past to now and it is more important now than it may have been just 20 years ago.
The history of journalism goes all the way back to the late 19th century in the United States (“Ethics Gaps” 3). Newspaper reporting and editing actually began in English and business departments at first (“Ethics Gaps” 3). Then, journalism schools began in the early 20th century in colleges such as Indiana, Columbia, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin (“Ethics Gaps” 3). As said above, Walter Williams founded the first American journalism school at Indiana University. He created his own original code of ethics. Ibold states “Williams was confronted with pluralism and globalization, just as he and other key figures in American journalism’s history were shaping journalism into a profession and an academic discipline.” His two main points of his code were global responsibility and awareness of difference around the world. He suggested a “Christian, American, pastoral model” to set the global standard for journalism (Ibold). But soon after, his code began to change.
There has been a dramatic structural change happening within journalism very recently. With technological advances happening everyday, journalism must keep up with these changes. After all, journalists are always up-to-date with what’s going on in the world. Jane Singer, Associate Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa, notes there are four key aspects to the changes of journalism because of the development of digital media and Web news sites. The four aspects are economic structure, organizational structure, narrative structure, and relationship structure. Each aspect has its own ethical implications (Singer). With these developments, Singer points out “tactics for developing new sources of revenue will intensify ethical pressure points and changing working conditions and roles will create new ethical situation for journalists.” This means that journalists will now be held more accountable for their actions because it’s going to be harder now to not break rules in the code of ethics.
Despite the changes happening within journalism, students still believe ethics should be upheld when reporting. Mike Conway, Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism at Indiana University, and Jacob...