South African journalism graduates’ preparedness for newsroom ethics: views of early-career journalists at News24, Eyewitness News and Independent Online

Bruns, Nicola Jo (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Several changes to the media landscape have highlighted how journalists need not only be wary of sources and the content that they share on social media, but also journalists need to be cognisant of being consumers of social media and the role that they as journalists play in the spreading of incorrect and illegitimate news. These changes to the media landscape have led to news editors increasing the value placed on journalism ethics training. This raises several questions regarding how well prepared journalism graduates are when faced with the current ethical challenges in the newsroom. The researcher started off this exploratory pilot study by doing a thorough review of prior literature on the role that journalism education plays in the practice of ethical journalism. Additionally, the researcher addressed prior literature that looked at the development of journalism education in South Africa, as well as how journalistic professionalism has changed over the past few decades. In order to investigate the role of ethics education, the researcher relied on social responsibility theory as a theoretical framework for the study, alongside the basic tenets of role perception theory and the concept of professionalism. Social responsibility theory was chosen as a theoretical framework as it suggests that the media have a responsibility toward society. Through conducting a series of semi-structured interviews with thirteen journalists from three major online publications in South Africa, viz, News24, Eyewitness News and Independent Online, this exploratory pilot study explored how well equipped newly graduated journalists are to navigate ethical challenges in the newsroom. The data from the thirteen semi-structured interviews was analysed by means of thematic analysis. The findings show that newly graduated journalists are not being trained sufficiently in the current practice of media ethics. By exploring the journalists’ personal experiences as early-career journalists, the exploratory pilot study emphasised the importance of modern-day journalism ethics training. It further provides insight into how journalism training institutions should adapt their media ethics courses to fulfil industry expectations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verskeie veranderinge in die media-landskap het uitgewys hoe joernaliste nie net versigtig moet wees vir bronne en die inhoud wat hulle op sosiale media deel nie, maar ook kennis moet neem dat hulle verbruikers van sosiale media is en van die rol wat hulle as joernaliste speel in die verspreiding van inkorrekte en onegte nuus. Hierdie veranderinge in die media-landskap het daartoe gelei dat nuusredakteurs verhoogde waarde plaas op opleiding in joernalistiek-etiek. Dit gee aanleiding tot verskeie vrae oor hoe goed voorbereid joernalistiekgraduandi is wanneer hulle te staan kom voor die huidige etiese uitdagings in die nuuskantoor. Die navorser het hierdie studie begin deur ’n deeglike oorsig van die vorige literatuur oor die rol van joernalistiekonderrig in die praktyk van etiese joernalistiek te doen. Daarbenewens het die navorser die vorige literatuur aangespreek wat kyk na die ontwikkeling van joernalistiekonderrig in Suid-Afrika, asook hoe joernalistieke professionalisme oor die afgelope paar dekades verander het. Om die rol van etiekonderrig te ondersoek, het die navorser gebruik gemaak van sosiale verantwoordelikheidsteorie as die teoretiese raamwerk vir die studie, tesame met die basiese beginsels van rolpersepsie-teorie en die konsep van professionalisme. Sosiale verantwoordelikheidsteorie is gekies as teoretiese raamwerk omdat dit voorstel dat die media ’n verantwoordelikheid teenoor die samelewing het. Deur ’n reeks semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met dertien joernaliste werksaam by drie vername aanlynpublikasies in Suid-Afrika, naamlik News24, Eyewitness News en Independent Online, stel hierdie hierdie ondersoekende loodsondersoek in na hoe goed toegerus onlangs gegradueerde joernaliste is om die etiese uitdagings in die nuuskantoor te navigeer. Die data afkomstig van die dertien semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is deur middel van tematiese analise geanaliseer. Die bevindinge toon dat onlangs gegradueerde joernaliste nie voldoende in die huidige praktyk van media-etiek opgelei word nie. Deur die joernaliste se persoonlike ervarings as vroeë-loopbaan joernaliste benadruk die studie die belangrikheid van hedendaagse etiek-opleiding vir joernalistiek. Dit verskaf verder insig in hoe joernalistiek-opleidingsinstellings hulle media-etiekkursusse moet aanpas om te voldoen aan die bedryf se verwagtinge.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105759
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