The Principles of Online Journalism: Why we must adhere to core values – by Samantha Moolman

It doesn’t take a qualified journalist anymore to publish the news. Thanks to online media, the public can now inform themselves and each other via various platforms and social networks. Any Joe Soap has access to previously unknown information, so the journalist’s original privilege of being able to disseminate new information has become redundant.

So are qualified journalists even necessary anymore?

I believe that the consumer will always be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. People will read what appeals to their needs and interests the most. For instance, those who are qualified to write children’s picture books are also aware that every detail on the page will somehow have a psychological impact on the child. Adhering to the basic principles of picture book writing will help to ensure that the child absorbs the right kind of information in the right way.

The Basic Principles of Journalism

Truth, verification, balance and fairness are the basic tenets of good old-fashioned journalism. Sticking to these values online will help set journalists apart from everyone else who communicates on the net.

The one thing we journalists have going for us is the ability to access accurate and reliable information which helps to maintain credibility. Journalism that demonstrates an unswerving loyalty to the reader and an awareness of the specific needs of the public will be sure to stand out from the chaff.

A Journalist’s Responsibility

Everyone who communicates online won’t necessarily consider themselves to be socially responsible. As journalists we therefore need to ensure that everything we write is still comprehensive, unbiased and in the right context. A responsible journalist disseminates news with no other objective but to inform.

Adhering to the original values and principles of journalism is now more important than ever. It will also ensure that we journalists will all still be necessary in the future.

About the Author:

Samantha Moolman is a freelance writer and editor who is currently responsible for the Family Life articles in Your Baby magazine.

Samantha also works part-time as an assistant lecturer for the University of Pretoria’s Department of Journalism.

Photo credit: flickr.com: playfullibrarian

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