National Union of Journalists Presentation Part 2 (improved)
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Union of Journalists Presentation Part 2 (improved)
NUJ Presentation pt 2
In order for the reader to trust the information provided in an article by a journalist, the journalist must be credible. In
order to be credible, journalists must make sure to always be objective, accurate, truthful, fair and balanced. The National
Union of Journalists provides some guidelines in their code of conduct that could help journalists to maintain credibility.
Objectivity is referring to how impartial the journalism is. Everyone has their own beliefs, though these beliefs can
sometimes spill over to their news stories. Journalists must be always be impartial, unprejudiced and unbiased in order to
maintain objectivity. The National Union of Journalists code of conduct clearly states that a journalist “Differentiates
between fact and opinion”.
Most newspapers hold a political view, and will tell a story from a certain angle in order to appeal to readers with the same
political view. For example The Daily Mail are a right wing newspaper, sharing views with political parties such as UKIP, or
the Conservative party. They will tell a story from an angle that will appeal to an audience with right wing views.
For example, in a recent story published in the Daily Mail, the headline reads “The denigration of men: Ridiculed, abused,
exploited- the triumph of feminism has made today’s men second class citizens,”. This story has been written for men with
right wing views, by a man with right wing views. A statement in the article reads “Our universities and further education
institutions are dominated by women at a proportion of ten to every seven men, with the Royal Veterinary College
formally identifying boys as an under-represented group.” and then “Across the Russell Group of Britain’s leading 20
universities, just three have a majority of male students.” These statistics may be true, however their reasoning behind the
statistics are not fact. The article’s writer Peter Lloyd has let his own bias get in the way of objective journalism.
Journalists must tell their story as accurately as possible. Distorting the truth in anyway, or getting facts incorrect could
be breaching Libel. Breaching libel is punishable by law, and could end up damaging a newspaper forever, as well as
damaging the lives of the people or person affected by the inaccurate story published. Newspapers can face extremely
large fines, and may never be trusted again by their readers.
The National Union of Journalists code of conduct has 2 rules specific to helping journalists maintain accuracy. The second
rule in the code of conduct stated a journalist “Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed,
accurate and fair.” The third rule states a journalist “Does his/her utmost to correct any harmful inaccuracies.”
In order to maintain accuracy, it is important to always use reliable sources for all information, in order to ensure all
information is correct. A journalist should also ensure that there is no room for interpretation in any of their writing.
The Guardian newspaper features a corrections and clarifications column. It enables the public, or other journalists to
write in and put misinformation right. The Guardian used to have a reputation for making mistakes in their writing,
however they are now taking steps to correct these mistakes. For example, a recent article published showed a
photograph of broadcaster Jon Snow being held to the ground by 2 policemen in 1969. The photograph’s caption stated
that the arrest took place in South Africa, when it actually took place at a protest against a tour by the South African
rugby team in Manchester. The Guardian corrected this misinformation in their corrections and clarifications column.
The main quality that defines journalism is truthfulness. Journalism is about providing the public with information on
important current worldwide events, and so the information provided by journalists is supposed to be true. A journalist
may lie if they have a particular agenda. They may want to damage a person, group of people, company or political party.
They may also want to give a person, group of people, company or political party a platform. If a journalist fails to provide
correct information, or fails to correct their misinformation then they could face large fines, or even jail time.
The National Union of Journalists code of conduct states a journalist “Does his/her utmost to correct any harmful
inaccuracies.” This rule has been put in place to ensure that journalists in the union are doing the right thing by correcting
their mistakes, and are avoiding large fines.
Back in 2008, the Daily Mail published a story that falsely accused business man Andy Miller of winning a lucrative IT
contract with the Met unfairly through his friendship with Sir Ian Blair, the former Metropolitan police commissioner. The
Daily Mail faced a fine of up to £3m. It is possible the misinformation provided in the article could have been used to
damage Andy Millers business.
It is illegal to completely lie about events, and to make up facts, however it is not illegal to bend the truth, though it is seen
as morally wrong. A journalist might bend the truth a little in order to appeal to the reader, to make the story suit their
views, or to make the story more interesting.
Research conducted back in 2010 predicting the future of religion, shows which religions will grow and which will shrink
between 2010 and 2050. The research shows that Islam will grow faster than any major world religion. christianvoice.org
reported on these finding. In their article, they use these finding in order to encourage the christian community to make
efforts to convert more people to christianity, in order to compete with the growth of Islam. Though the findings that
Christian Voice are reporting on are true, they have not accounted for the real reasons for the growth of Islam. It seems to
be that muslim families are having more children, compared with families of other religions. Christian Voice have covered
this fact as they have an agenda, to encourage christians to convert more people. They haven't told any lies, though they
haven't told the whole truth.
Fairness and Balance:
Journalists will usually have their own opinions, and newspapers will often have their own political view point. Many
journalists will write with the newspapers audience in mind, and so may tell a story from a particular angle, without
revealing every side to the story. Writing a story from only one angle is not fair or balanced.
The National Union of Journalists code of conduct states a journalist “Strives to ensure that information disseminated is
honestly conveyed, accurate and fair.” Though it is not legally binding, the code of conduct holds the moral high ground. It
is morally right to tell a story from every point of view so that the public has all the facts, and can then form their own
Newspapers usually hold their own political views. The Guardian, The Observer, The Mirror and The Independent are left
wing newspapers. Where as to the right are The Express, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Sun. Though they have
their own political views, this should not reflect in they way that they write a story, and what stories they publish.
Looking at The Express’ politics column, their political agenda is quite clear. The work UKIP, or Nigel Farage was used 18
times in total, and Conservative, Tories or David Cameron 10. The total number of times every other party name or leader
was mentioned, this includes Labour, Lib Dem, Green and the SNP was just 15. This means that the number of times UKIP
of Nigel Farage were mentioned is more than Labour, Lib Dem, Green and the SNP put together. This indicated to me that
the right wing are getting a disproportionate amount of coverage, which isn't fair or balanced.