Balancing Responsibilities

There’s no doubt that sensitive issues often make compelling stories.  However, when perusing these topics it’s essential that journalists examine how to effectively balance their responsibilities. One one hand is the publics need/want to know information. However, on the other hand is the ethical responsibility to minimize harm.

It seems that ever since the media followed OJ Simpson in a white bronco this equation has been off balance. This constant stream of information and attempted analyzation of  sensitive issues often leads to national notoriety for alleged and convicted perpetrators of crimes. Does the world really need continuous coverage on court cases like Casey Anthony’s or events like the Sandy Hook shooting?

While the circumstances are compelling and make for good ratings/high readership, what is the cost to the families and people involved? What about the message that it sends … that by committing a violent act you can become famous or get your message out there. The media often doesn’t report the details of suicides, except by famous people, based on ethical considerations  perhaps it needs to examine its reasonings for not limiting its reporting when other sensitive issues are involved.

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