Barbadian media (Bloggers & Reporters) urged to stick to standards when competing with Social Media portals

Ethical choices remains the most important skill of a journalist.

Senior Program Director of Special Projects at the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), Luis Botello, impressed this with a cadre of key Barbadian bloggers, as well as TV, Radio, print media practitioners during a one-day seminar hosted by the Bridgetown US Embassy at the Courtyard Marriott, in Hastings.

The mini-summit concentrated on best practices in journalism, equipping participants with the tools and resources needed to effectively practice their craft. In addition, Botello paid special attention to social media in journalism, focusing on the effective use of social media in the country.

The mini-summit concentrated on best practices in journalism, equipping participants with the tools and resources needed to effectively practice their craft. In addition, Botello paid special attention to social media in journalism, focusing on the effective use of social media in the country.

He pointed out that even in free societies, journalism that is done ‘very well‘ is always going to have issues.

"Someone, somewhere is always going to have an issue with the media. However, whatever you do, you have to make sure that you follow certain standards. That the decision-making process was correct and that the information that you published was openly explained to the public."

Someone, somewhere is always going to have an issue with the media. However, whatever you do, you have to make sure that you follow certain standards. That the decision-making process was correct and that the information that you published was openly explained to the public.”

Looking at the core principles of journalism, Botello firstly stressed that a journalist’s first obligation is to the truth.

Sometimes you can’t have everything; one reason being sometimes you don’t have access to information. Also events change; today this is what we know, tomorrow something else came up. You’ve got to seek that truth as far as you can,” he insisted.

In making decisions, Botello said that a journalist should ask him or herself certain questions which include: "What if the roles were reverse; who will be affected? Have we heard other opinions before publishing the story, beyond our own newsroom? What will be the short-term, long-term consequences of the actions that we make? If we publish information are we capable of explaining why we did, what we did? How can we still actually publish the story minimising harm?"

In making decisions, Botello said that a journalist should ask him or herself certain questions which include: “What if the roles were reverse; who will be affected? Have we heard other opinions before publishing the story, beyond our own newsroom? What will be the short-term, long-term consequences of the actions that we make? If we publish information are we capable of explaining why we did, what we did? How can we still actually publish the story minimising harm?

“Stories you know are going to have a strong reaction, you have to be ahead of the reaction, and explain that before the reaction. It shows that you were sensitive and you knew that there was going to be a problem. But if you don’t care, and then the next day everyone is criticising you and you then want to explain why you wrote it; it’s too late – the damage has been done,” he stated.

Botello, who is also a professor of Journalism at American University, conducts a variety of training programmes and conferences on digital media, mobile technology, ethics, press freedom and media development worldwide.

During his visit to Barbados, he also did work with the students enrolled in the Mass Communications Associate Program at the Barbados Community College (BCC). {DATA COURTESY: B’DOS ADVOCATE, Ed. by BajanReporter.com}

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