Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Speaking of Empathy...

I think that this week and last week tie in well with one another. I missed the guest speaker on Tuesday, I was interviewing for a real-life job, keep your fingers crossed. The stories are eerily familiar, two journalists who develop intrinsic, personal relationships with the subjects and/or things they cover.

I imagine, given the circumstances of both stories, that it becomes difficult as a journalist covering a war torn area to give an unbiased, detached account of the events unraveling in that area, and I am sure that the ethical lines are not clearly drawn in the sand. There are several ethically questionable events that present themselves which pose serious ramifications. A clear conflict of interest is revealed when the journalist in Sarajevo becomes personally involved with the orphanage and its children. Marshall battled with his allegiances to his country and his profession. One could say these wartime, ethical dilemmas can lead to stories that are unfair and unbalanced, but due to the highly emotional nature of war, it would take a robot to remain unattached.

Yet, you can also defend the actions of these journalists saying that they were giving a voice to those who needed speaking out. Both of these journalists were also courageous to enter a war zone to report on wars that were and are very unpopular, but remained and reported for the people's right to know and for truths sake, even though that truth was often hard to come by. I take solace in believing that journalists breach ethical guidelines with the best of intentions, for it is often times the journalists pressing those guidelines who set the stage, and do the grunt work for further social change.

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