Dorie L. Griggs

Help Stop Media Bashing: Deliver the News with Integrity

By Dorie L. Griggs
First Published in Southern Newspaper Publishers Association eBulletin
May 15, 2003

 

I am fascinated by the public ridicule heaped on journalists in our society. In a country founded on freedom, youâd think weâd celebrate the ability to articulate our views in the marketplace of ideas. You would think the public would appreciate the free flow of information we enjoy in the United States.

Unfortunately, freedom of speech is like other privileges we are given. When a right becomes commonplace, it is not honored as it once was.

I once worked in a place where we were given free meals. At first it was a wonderful benefit. After a few months on the job, however, the employees would begin to criticize the food.

Journalists play an integral role in a free society. As members of this industry you need to claim that role for yourselves. You also have to take the responsibility seriously and honor the ethics of the profession.

When mistakes are made, and they will be made, admit them and move on. Excessive finger pointing among members of the industry will only damage the public view of the profession.

To avoid violations of professional ethics, managers must provide training and a supportive environment for the staff.

  • Is the staff aware of your code of ethics?
  • Does your paper have a plan in place for continuing education for the staff?
  • Are the managers trained in how to support their staff?

Providing opportunities for continuing education, employee assistance programs for personal struggles and general support for staff will provide a healthy work environment.

When employees feel supported by their managers, productivity increases. When people are treated as a valued members of a team, they project confidence into their work.

How do you combat the "media bashing" so prevalent in our society? We may never be able to stop people from criticizing the media. But you can:

  • Deliver the news with integrity.
  • Provide a supportive environment for your staff.
  • Admit mistakes.
  • Communicate what measures are being taken to correct the mistake.
  • Take pride in the important role Freedom of the Press has in our society.

The information provided in this column is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice.

Dorie L. Griggs holds a Master of Divinity degree and her ministry is to journalists. Contact her via e-mail: dorie@stanleyleary.com

Contact | ©2006 Dorie L. Griggs