Journalists need to keep integrity

They’ve dropped the ball on journalistic integrity. The war in Iraq is inspiring a regrettable lack of judgment among some prominent members of the media during a time when honesty is most needed in the news.

Last week, Peter Arnett bid farewell to a long career with NBC and National Geographic when the two companies severed all ties with Arnett for giving an unauthorized interview to the Iraqi news media.

Geraldo Rivera faced well-deserved criticism after drawing out specific troop movements in the sand for the whole world to see.

Most recently, Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski was fired because he used his computer to alter photographs from the front lines. The altered photo ran on the front page of three major newspapers before a Hartford Courant employee noticed Walski’s deception.

These individuals are seasoned journalists. They are well aware of the ethical standards to which the media should adhere. By compromising these standards, they belittle the work of others, and they betray their colleagues. They abuse the power of the press and the right to free media. Most importantly, they betray and deceive the public.

These individuals do not represent journalism. Journalists seek to inform the public, and they go after stories in search of truth. They take an objective stance to the best of their ability. They report the story, They don’t become the story.

These individuals deserved to be dismissed as members of the media. Trust from the public is hard-earned, and ruining that trust is inexcusable.

University Wire — U. Southern California