Week 10 Discussion Questions

There were several diagrams that codified ethical principles and moral responsibilities for professions all related to information circulation and distribution.  Journalism, information technology, and library organizations all emphasize the significance of fairness and objectivity.  This helps ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that could possibly serve as hindrances in providing service or publishing stories.  Due to the broadness of information itself, there were many diagrams that included different sets of ethics based on each of the three professions.  Examining the “Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics”, I believe the eighth rule, stipulating that one “shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output” is the most followed tenet (FOI, 346).  In today’s society, emphasis on providing proper citations and avoiding plagiarism is put at the forefront of academic institutions.  Sites such as turnitin.com and plagscan.com enable students and professors to analyze the originality of information provided by the student in their paper.  Consequences of plagiarism is both economic and social; students committing plagiarism are subject to banishment of a university which can stigmatize opportunities for internships or graduate jobs.  Additionally, this tarnish can estrange one from social groups and networking with peers since one’s academic and social value depreciates drastically.  Similarly, professionals caught plagiarizing incur identical consequences, but on a more detrimental scale since employers have a zero-tolerance policy in hiring applicants with prior plagiarist infractions.  As a result, academic honor codes, methods of MLA citations, and antiplagiarist websites are useful resources that have helped stifle the practices of mimicking one’s intellectual work as their own.

Contrarily, one tenet I believe that is seldom upheld is the third rule that articulates that one “shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files” (FOI, 346).  With the emergence of social media and its various sources, employers can monitor activities of their employees in the workplace and generate that information into cybernetic commodities (Andrejevic).  In this sense, a Big Brother type of scheme is used in order to ensure that employee activities are acceptable and find ways to optimize efficiency for their workers.  It is confirmed that “statutes and courts have held that employees do not have privacy rights when using equipment provided by employers”, signifying a growth in shared communication between several interacting parties (FOI, 351).  Additionally, misuse of company-owned communications  “may be grounds for dismissal” and employees can have their rights abridged for engaging in practices online that are detrimental to the workplace (FOI, 351).  In general, security agencies such as the NSA and CIA can easily monitor communications between people on the telephone, Internet, and mail without the knowledge of those using these communication resources.  Thus, Internet privacy is becoming a more contentious issue with the advent of new information and social technologies.


2. Journalists that are required to detail a narrative central to a sport’s story or any other type of story in general need to be more judicious and exercise a shred of skepticism in order to fully grasp the truth.  David Griner argues that these stories are dangerous in that they have many holes that journalists should be prodding at.  For instance, if “Te’o never met his cyber-girlfriend, why did the South Bend Tribune describe them meeting after a 2009 game in Palo Alto?” (Griner).  Additionally, the emotions brought on by the story and how it inspired Te’o to dominate in his performances as Notre Dame’s inside linebacker provide a multifaceted narrative that journalists will immediately pounce on.  I believe the spread of misinformation should be stopped at its primary source in order to prevent chains of news sources to report on the story and disseminate that falsified information to the public.  ESPN columnist Wojciechowski was emotionally riveted by the story and therefore, trusted Te’o’s narrative to verbatim.  He argues that there was a lack of fact-checking ability that could be used for the narrative.  However, I would counter that he should have made a more concerted effort to investigate the details of Kakua’s purported car accident and subsequent hospitalization.  Wojciechowski likely committed this error due to the fact that sports journalists are more loose in their fact checking and are eager to report on sports news that transcend the whole statistic reporting of sports teams and search to input potential scandals or narratives that give a sport’s personality character and more color.  Therefore, limiting this pursuit while searching for fact checks can help rectify the credibility of various news sources.  The “Benghazi Story” documented by CBS’s 60 minutes Lara Logan, took a false testimony provided by security contractor Dylan Davies, claiming that he witnessed the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi.  This ties in with Griner’s article in that fact checking is necessary, despite the embellishment offered in “feel-good” narratives.

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Week 10 Discussion

1) After reading chapter 13 of Fundamentals of Information Studies, I chose to discuss figure 13-6: Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics. This figure give the ten rules that people should follow when using a computer. The tenant that is held up the most is commandment number 2: “Thou shalt not interfere with other’s computer work.” I believe that this commandment means that people should not try to hack or mess up anyone’s work that is held in his or her computer. Also, people need to know how to hack to be successful at it. It just does not seem like a common thing that average people do these days. I know that it happens, but it seems like skills need to be learned to do it without getting caught. The tenant that is, in my opinion, held up the least is commandment number 4. That commandment states, “Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.” Many people use the computer to steal, without any reprimands. People illegally download movies, television shows, music, and video games from the computer every day. Instead of buying the DVDs, CDs, and video games, people are getting them for free (stealing) just by a click of a mouse. I feel like commandment 2 is easy to uphold because not a lot of people do it without a serious motive. Also, there is increased security on computers nowadays. With passwords that require many different characters, security questions, and constant security updates.

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2) I think it is personally appalling that the truth is bent in media just to create a good story. Especially when it concerns icons like celebrities, sports stars, and politicians. The media shape how those icons are portrayed depending on the what emotions they want the viewers to feel. Lance Armstrong was treated like a hero, even after he finally admitted that he was taking performance enhancing drugs to win prestigious bike racing awards. When it comes to sports, the attention should be about the game itself. I understand that narratives surrounding sports stars are a good way to get people who otherwise not be interested to watch, but then it is changing the meaning of the game. I do not think that it is ethical to bend the truth just to get a wider audience. If there is a REAL story that is confirmed and fact-checked, then I believe it is okay to report it.

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Week 10 Discussion Questions – Coreen Joyce Alagar

1) Select one of the groups of codes of ethics discussed (figure 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, or 13.7) and describe one of the tenets that is upheld the most, and one of the tenets that is upheld the least. Why is this tenet (specific code) easily upheld and why is another so difficult to uphold? Give an example to support each of the tenets that you select. Be sure to support your arguments with direct citations from the reading.

– Within the group of codes of ethics of the “Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics” (Figure 13.6), there are several tenets that are highly upheld and not so highly upheld. One of the tenets that is upheld the most is that “Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output” (p. 346, Figure 13.6, #8). As the use of the Internet became more prevalent, so did the emphasis on anti-plagiarism. From a young age, students are taught the repercussions of plagiarizing work or “taking…the ideas [and the] words of others without attribution” (p. 365). Although there are different definitions of intellectual output (tangible and intangible, for example), the intellectual property that students are most aware of are passages from textbooks or scholarly articles found online. What makes it so easy for this tenet to be upheld is the advancement of technology, like TurnItIn. Rutgers takes plagiarism very seriously and many professors utilize this program to ensure that none of their students of guilty of such a crime. One of the tenets that is upheld the least is “Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s computer files” (p. 346, Figure 13.6, #3). The environment where this tenet is least likely to be upheld is in a workplace. Technology use in a workplace is often classified as technology use for work which is why “[e]mployers may monitor the telephone, mail, and Internet use of employees” (p. 351). Although this first came off as a breach of privacy, this “snooping” is justified. When an employer provides their employees with technology in the workplace, it is expected that they will only use that technology for work. Should the employer feel the need to ensure that their employees are actually working and not using the technology for personal use or if they have a feeling that their technology is being abused, they have reason enough to monitor what their employees are doing. %22ethics%22

2) David Griner in his Poynter.org post writes: “More problematic these days is the fact that sports writers and producers are always on the hunt for a narrative, something that can elevate games above boring statistics and leaderboard shuffling. All journalists love telling a good story, but sports coverage and presentation have become reliant on it. A game can’t just be a series of pre-prepared tactics and random interventions of chance. These days, it needs to be a clash of iconic personalities, the heroes of our modern mythology playing out their epic storylines one installment at a time.” Explain your own position on where the line between truth-bending narratives and responsibility to ethics on the part of journalists should be. Also, make an attempt to connect Griner’s thinking to a story subject beyond sports, such as politics, healthcare, business, etc.as an example to your position.

– As Griner stated, “All journalists love telling a good story”. However, when does a good story become more fiction than reality? When do fluff words take over and become a fluff piece? Although truth-bending narratives have been around for decades now (Hello, Yellow Journalism!), I feel that truth-bending narratives have become more and more prevalent with the advancement of communication and technology. Before, journalists would use truth-bending narratives to pull in readers or to encourage them to continue watching the news. Now, with the prevalence of social media and the ability to share information with the touch of your finger, journalists use truth-bending narratives to push people to share their articles or share video clips about the topic. However, these journalists do not work alone to get a good story. Griner’s piece focuses on the Manti Te’o hoax involving a girlfriend who turned out to be a dead girlfriend who was revealed to be a fake dead girlfriend. The journalists who covered this story and the news outlets that were so quick to provide coverage were fueled by the people at the center of this hoax – Manti Te’o, his family, and even Notre Dame “likely hoping that it would make Te’o a more compelling case for a Heisman.” The news outlets desire to put out a good story along with Te’o’s desire for publicity created a cloud of miscommunication and bad journalism. An example of truth-bending narrative would be Yoko Ono vs the Beatles (or, more recently, Perrie Edwards vs One Direction). Journalists were very quick to point fingers at Yoko Ono as the reason why John Lennon chose to leave the Beatles. Instead of doing more background investigation and questioning Lennon’s mental or emotional health, journalists chose to place all the blame on Ono. This is similar to what is currently going on with One Direction. When the band chose to release a statement that Zayn Malik would be leaving the band due to stress and because he wanted to lead a more “normal” life, journalists were quick to bring up the possible involvement of his fiancée, Perrie Edwards. Journalists jumping to such conclusions is probably because this kind of story (choosing love over the band) is much more interesting than leaving due to stress.

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week 10– Rutgers football players receive unearned A’s

1) Select one of the groups of codes of ethics discussed (figure 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, or 13.7) and describe one of the tenets that is upheld the most, and one of the tenets that is upheld the least. Why is this tenet (specific code) easily upheld and why is another so difficult to uphold? Give an example to support each of the tenets that you select. Be sure to support your arguments with direct citations from the reading.

I find the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics to be an interesting one to look at because journalism is a huge part of our generation involving both politics and entertainment. I find that most of it’s tenets don’t seem to be upheld very well, and I think this is because the code is outdated for the society we live in today. Lester and Koehler mention that it was “adopted in 1996 but based on a 1926 code” (pg. 344). That is almost 100 years ago, and politics and entertainment have changed drastically since then. The tenet in this code that I believe works best is “tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so” (pg. 343). I think this tenet is upheld throughout most journalism, especially in today’s society. Audiences tend to focus on drastic measures and on the emotions of others in a state that they are not in. When we watch the news and see lives were lost in a house fire, we immediately want more details and statements from those damaged from the fire. We are entertained by their tragedy because it is not one that we are facing. When an audience hears an experience to its most detail, they are interested. I think journalism does a good job with this, especially in a society that is entertained by smaller things, such as reality tv. With upholding this tenet, however, other tenets are not. To get the best information to uphold this tenet, a journalist might have to fight. Journalism is a commodity that runs solely to get “the best story out there”, while journalists fight to get on top of the industry.  With this, the tenet “always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises” (pg. 343). I think journalists will become sneaky and untrustworthy when trying to present a “bold” story, and truly become a good journalist.

2) David Griner in his Poynter.org post writes: “More problematic these days is the fact that sports writers and producers are always on the hunt for a narrative, something that can elevate games above boring statistics and leaderboard shuffling. All journalists love telling a good story, but sports coverage and presentation have become reliant on it. A game can’t just be a series of pre-prepared tactics and random interventions of chance. These days, it needs to be a clash of iconic personalities, the heroes of our modern mythology playing out their epic storylines one installment at a time.” Explain your own position on where the line between truth-bending narratives and responsibility to ethics on the part of journalists should be. Also, make an attempt to connect Griner’s thinking to a story subject beyond sports, such as politics, healthcare, business, etc.as an example to your position.

I don’t follow sports very much, so when a story about a player or team is more than just statistics and scores, I find myself more interested. I never find the stories, at least sports-wise, to be unethical. I think its fascinating to see that athletes and celebrities do the same things an average joe does, or even, makes the same mistakes as well. Sometimes the stories are outrageous, like domestic violence. However, I’d honestly like to know that, because if I didn’t and I was praising a celebrity that was a bad role model, I’d feel like I’ve done something unethical for supporting them. Even sometimes, you can learn about their stories on a more emotional level, for instance, when journalists were following Corey Haim and his drug problem in the 90’s. I’m a huge fan of Haim, so when I watch exclusives or hear Corey Feldman talking about how great his friend was, I learn that he was human and it was deeper problems that caused him to do what he did. Some stars, like athletes, are full of themselves, and will do something wrong and think its ok. If this was the case with Haim, I wouldn’t be so much of a fan anymore. A good example is the football team that we have here at Rutgers. My entire family, except for me, are huge fans. The reason I’m not is because I took a class that had 8 of the players in it, and they were the rudest people I’ve ever encountered. My family loved them though, because they only saw them on TV as they were labeled: “athletes”. My sister was a huge fan as well, until she was partnered with the starting quarterback in a class for a final project. She did the project alone because he refused to help, yet, he still received an A. After this, she was no longer a fan. If this was a reported article, I wouldn’t find it unethical to reveal this information. I’d find it unethical on the part of the player and school. I think some people will agree that the stories are too much for sports, and others like me would agree that they like them. Regardless, its the intense details that journalists give an audience that cause this argument in the first place. People either love the details or are disgusted by them.

 

Week 10

  1. I feel like one of the easier tenants to follow is #2 “Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work.” (PG 346) In most cases professional hackers can do severe damage to another’s work. It takes a lot of work and knowledge to crack codes and break firewalls; no novice coder would be able to hack into a heavily protected database. It is easy to interfere with someone’s work on word or by seeing their open laptop and posting a Facebook status as them, but those can be reversible and easily fixed or deleted. The 5th tenet “thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness” (pg 346) is constantly broken in this modern age. “Catfishing” is becoming increasingly popular, enough so that a hit TV show was created to expose the liars. It is easy to break this tenant because when there is anonymity on a website it is incredibly simple to lie, because the words cannot be tied back to you.

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  1. Blurring the lines between a “truth-bending narrative” and an ethical responsibility is when a reporter submits a totally false story for their own gain. Adding a little white lie hear or there is okay; for example- if 900 people die because of Ebola but its reported that MILLIONS of people dyed is unethical. It depends on how far from the truth the story is, like if a FORMER girlfriend of Manti Te’o died, the case would be different than the whole story being a hoax. Fabricating a story, and relying on the narrative rather than a fact is poor journalism ethics, it is needed “to put accuracy above narrative.” With the T’eo case the story spun out of control, especially because it made it more likely to receive the Heisman trophy, a huge honor. Athlete’s professional lives are being increasingly reported and narrated in order to invoke a different type of viewer for sports. Knowing a player’s home life encourages viewers to search more for players and increases popularity for some websites. When a famous sports player dates a celebrity, for example a Kardashian sister, their lives are posted all over the media and by doing so more people are interested in their lives. I know this because before a Kardashian dates Lamar Odom I never knew who he was, but then his life was posted all over social media and all over the tabloids. This merges athletes from simply people who play sports professionally to celebrities. Other examples include Lance Armstrong, Micheal Jordan, David Beckham, and Shaq.manti te'o

Griner’s article also mentioned a fabricated story of a girl dying of cancer hoping to go to Disney World; this tactic pulled on the heartstrings of the readers and made them sympathize for the ill girl. He says that he now must live in a world where his has to ask a mom “o prove that her daughter has cancer. ”Using illness, or death to make a story popular, and enhance a company, school, or person, is totally crossing a line of ethics. I don’t think it’s ethical to pretend to be sick in order to receive attention, and to tug on the heartstrings of readers for your own profit is despicable. In the case of politics, especially the presidential election, the candidate’s personal lives are posted everywhere. People are hired to dig far back into an opponent’s life to find anything that can help them lose voters. These people become fore than people who want to be president, but people who did “X” in the past or have never done “Y”. Media can spin stories and lives out of control without a hint of accuracy, for the sole purpose of making a story, or a person more popular.

Week 10

1) Select one of the groups of codes of ethics discussed (figure 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, or 13.7) and describe one of the tenets that is upheld the most, and one of the tenets that is upheld the least. Why is this tenet (specific code) easily upheld and why is another so difficult to uphold? Give an example to support each of the tenets that you select. Be sure to support your arguments with direct citations from the reading.

The group of codes I picked the “Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics”. One of the commandments that I noticed that is upheld most is “Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.” People these days usually cite everything they use, especially for important things. Even unimportant things get cited as peiople still have respect for other’s intellectual property. The way we use thingst hese days seems liek it is always credited as people still uphold this commandment also because of the fear of getting accused of plagiarism. Intellectual property is a very important thing in this society, especially now that you can access information from others so quickly and use it right away.

The commandment that is least upheld is “Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.” With the amount of hackers and cyber bullies these days, this commandment is almost never upheld. Whether it be harming people emotionally or harming their lives by hacking into their files, people do not care for privacy or feelings anymore. It has gotten worse in this day and age since more people are on the internet more than ever. There are so many cyber bullies and hackers in the world that this commandment seems very relevant. It is a shame that so many people do this, as this is one of the biggest problems on the internet now.

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2) David Griner in his Poynter.org post writes: “More problematic these days is the fact that sports writers and producers are always on the hunt for a narrative, something that can elevate games above boring statistics and leaderboard shuffling. All journalists love telling a good story, but sports coverage and presentation have become reliant on it. A game can’t just be a series of pre-prepared tactics and random interventions of chance. These days, it needs to be a clash of iconic personalities, the heroes of our modern mythology playing out their epic storylines one installment at a time.” Explain your own position on where the line between truth-bending narratives and responsibility to ethics on the part of journalists should be. Also, make an attempt to connect Griner’s thinking to a story subject beyond sports, such as politics, healthcare, business, etc.as an example to your position.

As an avid sports fan, I know exactly what Griner is talking about. Sports these days are never just about the sports, as now people go into the lives of the stars. Sometimes the biggest stories are not about how well someone did, but how drunk they got the night before, or what they just tweeted. People do not care about the actual stories now and care more about the celebrity of it. Although sometimes important, I once saw a story on ESPN talking about what a certain sports star had tweeted and it was one of the biggest stories of the day. I was very annoyed as I wanted to see more highlights, but the main focus was on that. Journalism today is all about the tabloids now and it is a shame. As a true sports fan I just want to hear about sports, not what the players are eating that day for dinner.

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Week 10 Response

1) Select one of the groups of codes of ethics discussed (figure 13.4, 13.5, 13.6, or 13.7) and describe one of the tenets that is upheld the most, and one of the tenets that is upheld the least. Why is this tenet (specific code) easily upheld and why is another so difficult to uphold? Give an example to support each of the tenets that you select. Be sure to support your arguments with direct citations from the reading.

Several professional codes are explained in Chapter 13, they were taken from such organizations: journalism, computing, and librarianship.  All of these codes have different tenets because obviously the professions differ, however most of these tenets are never really upheld in today’s world because of being so hard to manage.  Looking at the journalism codes from the, Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, they promoted a focus on: accuracy, objectivity, and fairness.  One of the most tenet that is easily upheld is that journalists, “Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage.  Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects,” (344).  It is very common to see news-reporters showing sympathy and empathy towards deaths or intense situations when it comes to children or any drastic event.  For example in the recent story with seven orthodox children dying in a fire in Brooklyn; much emotion was showed in the report.A tenet that you see upheld the least is “Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.  Deliberate distortion is never permissible,” (343).  Rarely do you see news sources try to seek the most information and give it to the audience.  Depending on the news station, news will be thrown at you in a way so will not question the accuracy.  For example look at the current news on ISIS, you assume the media is accurate in what they are telling, but you never know both sides of the story.  The tenet of showing compassion is easier to uphold versus the accuracy of the information because it is more common as a human to show emotion towards another in a drastic event.  Showing sympathy is way easier than gathering the right information in making a report.  Gathering information for a report and making sure it is truthful can take time and sometimes it is easier to make generalities.  Showing compassion towards another in time of grieving is just a common ethic in our society.

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2) David Griner in his Poynter.org post writes: “More problematic these days is the fact that sports writers and producers are always on the hunt for a narrative, something that can elevate games above boring statistics and leaderboard shuffling. All journalists love telling a good story, but sports coverage and presentation have become reliant on it. A game can’t just be a series of pre-prepared tactics and random interventions of chance. These days, it needs to be a clash of iconic personalities, the heroes of our modern mythology playing out their epic storylines one installment at a time.” Explain your own position on where the line between truth-bending narratives and responsibility to ethics on the part of journalists should be. Also, make an attempt to connect Griner’s thinking to a story subject beyond sports, such as politics, healthcare, business, etc.as an example to your position.

In the story of Manti Te’o, sports journalists were literally thirsty in seeking a narrative, something that would excite the sports world.  Despite having the resources, top-tier sports news outlets such as ESPN, FOX News, and Sports Illustrated get caught up in trying to create the best story-line, “In the case of Manti Te’o, the quest for a storyline appears to have clouded the judgment of otherwise sensible journalists. And Notre Dame helped fuel the story, likely hoping that it would make Te’o a more compelling case for a Heisman,” (Paragraph 24).  I do believe that interesting stories such as Cinderella Stories or drastic comebacks make compelling stories in sports but should not result in to truth-bending.  There is a line between reporting a great narrative such as “The 1980 Miracle on Ice” versus the incident with Manti Te’o and his catfish girlfriend.  Being a reporter regardless if its sports, it could be politics, business, or healthcare, a journalist should never relinquish the truth to make a story a better.  One of the tenets I previously described in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, information on a story should be accurate and precise.  Reporters should never try to just entertain the audience.  Journalists have a professional code for reprehensibility to ethics above anything else.

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