100 articles — ‘A new journalist’s creed’ by Stephen J. A. Ward

10 May 2010

Written by: Christopher Scanlon

‘A new journalist’s creed’ by Stephen J.A. Ward

It’s no longer the editor kicking your butt towards that deadline, it’s the audience. They want their content and they want it now. As in, Right. Now.

Journalists are busy people. They always have been — deadline driven work doesn’t allow a lot of rest.

Recently however, the pace has quickened. The Internet has created an expectation of information available on demand. What’s a journalist to do?

Then there’s that other problem of ‘bloggers’ and the so-called ‘citizen journalists’. Anyone with a keyboard can call themselves a  journalist these days. Are the audience even interested in the truth anymore?

Journalism ethics professor Stephen J.A. Ward thinks so. He believes quality journalism is still what people want. And he doesn’t think ‘old media’ are the only ones capable of producing it. We just have to make sure we’re all agreed on some basic principles.

Ward attended a conference on the future of ethical journalism and walked away unimpressed. Some journalists argued that the old code of ethics still applies; Ward disagreed and wrote this article as a response. He argues that a new code of conduct will emerge. With it he hopes for an acceptance that it’s no longer only the people in newsrooms who can call themselves journalists.

What’s especially refreshing is his lack of navel gazing. Ward isn’t mourning a lost world, he’s looking to the future. He’s bored of the ‘tired shouting matches’ and wants us to figure out the way forward, mainstream and citizen journalists together. In his world, there’s room under the journalism banner for all of us.

Sarah Green is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University.

More on the ‘100 articles’ project, including the list so far, can be found here.