CBS News anchor Scott Pelley accepted a journalist First Amendment award and during his acceptance speech he spoke about the importance of truth in the media and the ethics of journalism.
Of course in this day and age journalism has changed; with the emergence of social media and the larger role of the citizen journalism news and information is available to a larger amount of people and can also be created by a larger amount of people.
Pelley gives the example of the Boston bombing situation and the role that social media played. Many accusation flooded twitter, facebook, and other sites, giving pictures and names of the supposed attackers. This storm eventually caught up to major news sites who also began reposting the photos and names, however much of this information was published without being fact checked.
Blaming a person who is not responsible for an act of terror caused for some huge questions to be asked about ethics in journalism. It should go with out saying that fact checking is mandatory before information is released to the public, especially for a popular news organization that is going to be seen as highly credible.
Of course in today’s world being first and fast can be seen as more important than being accurate and Pelley reminds us that many more people are going to remember when a news organization is wrong rather than if they were first.
Here is the acceptance speech