Intro to Mass Communications
The New Precision Journalism: Privacy Concerns
In the text The New Precision Journalism written by Meyer, touches base on the complexities and advancements of Journalism. Precision journalism is a faster paced way for journalists to get their work done; they are looking for speed and accuracy. However, that are conflicts that Meyer touches base on different aspects that are vital to critical thinking about the future of journalism: privacy concerns, defining public opinion, elections, tactical voting, and uneasiness in the media. All of these apply to the “new precision of journalism”.
Gaweiser and Witt in A Journalist’s Guide to Public Opinion Polls, quickly touch on the idea that journalist’s were trying to discover new ways to collect data, analyze it and report back with accurate results. This quickly caught on because of our technological advancements; we have the privilege of using computers for speed purposes. Over the years, you see the development of precision journalism and finally in the 1990’s polling was referred to database journalism.
The idea of precision journalism is obviously effective and with any new methods there are always going to be consequences. I think it is safe to assume that Journalists like the development of precision journalism. However, Meyer touched on a topic that I found slightly disturbing, especially from a writers perspective. The privacy issue that has risen because of precision journalism is a little alarming.
“The codes of some of the major professional associations in journalism recognize a duty to provide protection of privacy. In the utilitarian ethical systems used, consciously or not, by most journalists, the right to privacy is easily overridden by a more pressing concern for the public’s right to know. The question for precision journalism is whether the power of its methods adds a moral burden that did not exist for less powerful methods.” (Meyer, New Precision Journalism).
It is sad to see that morals have to be put behind us because journalists may obtain certain information that they have to decide whether or not the public should know about it. However, journalists do not have the luxury of making this decision, if there is “vital” information for the public to know even if it’s against their morals, it is highly likely that they would have to share this knowledge. I’m not against the idea of precision journalism, but I did not see this becoming an issue.
An example of how a poll shows information that is questionable to whether or not it should have been given to the public is from the New York Times. October 15, 2009 New Jersey Residents are afraid of the future of their economy. The poll that was conducted showed that the democratic candidate sides with Obama and is convincing the public that the republican opponent is going to help the rich stay rich. However, the public does not like either of the candidates
I think this poll could have been left alone, in my opinion any of this knowledge is creating fear in the public. I believe that some journalists would have looked at this poll would think that sharing this information would go against their morals. All it is doing is expressing fear.