Monthly Archives: December 2011

A semester of ethical consideration

This semester I have learned more about ethics for journalists then I ever thought I would need to know. As a matter of fact, I have even begun to apply the theories I’ve learned to my every day actions and decisions. I considered using the Potter’s box when thinking about eliminating a friendship. I also found myself justifying my actions through ethical theories. Many students only take this course in order to fulfill a requirement for graduation… I was one of those students. After taking the class and absorbing the material can I honestly say I understand why this class is a core requirement. I believe that all students should be required to take an ethics course within their field before they are allowed to walk the stage.

 

 

The theory that I found most interesting this semester was Egoism. I never knew there was a theory out there that actually gave credit to doing what is best for yourself or self-interest. Theories that revolve around individualism have left a bad taste in my mouth. They lead me to believe that they were only created to justify bad or obviously unethical (in my opinion) behavior. The theory that I connected with the most was Utilitarianism. The idea that “the greatest good for the greatest amount of people,” seems to make the most sense to me or better said aligns closest with my belief system. It is a fact that not every action will please everyone, but if a majority of individuals in any given population are served better or have a better outcome the action could be justified.

 

 

Another area that has caused me to engage in deeper though was the consideration of libel on social media. I am guilt of over-sharing on social media site, and now I am more conscience of the topics I choose to post about. In my opinion social media is a growing phenomenon that is not going anywhere anytime soon. I believe that as social media become more ingrained in our daily lives, the implications of social media behavior will present itself as a more widely addressed topic. Social media has enhanced my friendships as well as allowed me to make professional connections. Ethical practices on social media are now something that I look at as a requirement.

 

Reading and learning the codes of ethics for advertising, public relations and marketing was very informative. I was able to connect concepts between the different communication fields and have the intension of applying these theories in future work. The PRSA code of ethics stood out the most to me, perhaps since I was a PR major. Some of the guidelines set forth by the organization seem like common sense or proper etiquette; however I know that if it had to be written there must have been a reason. Of all the guidelines maintaining a free flow of information seems the most important to me, specifically for public relations. With advertising and marketing the profit is the bottom line, however in public relations, creating a transparent relationship between clients and their stakeholders is most important. The act of being transparent is something that most definitely requires ethical considerations and actions.

 

 

Ethical behavior practices are important in every field, but journalists are tasked with communicating with large public communities. Therefore the burden of acting ethically and reporting responsibility is greater for us. Having a sound moral compass is something that develops with time, age, experience and knowledge. The Mayborn School of Journalism’s ethics course has taught me more about not only ethical theories but also about myself. I have left this class a better person.

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My Future in public relations

After spending so many weeks writing blogs about the public relations field, it is hard to believe that after this post, I will not longer be a PR student, at UNT at least. I have spent the entire semester thinking about my future in the field. As I prepare for graduation with a job offer, I look back and think I much I will miss PR. Needless to say, my job offer was not in public relations but rather the financial industry.

 

Strangely enough, several of my friends who are also graduating from the PR program at UNT have jobs lined up but not in public relations. My sister who graduated fromTempleUniversity’s graduate program in 2010 told me that there were lots of jobs available in my field; however, the positions I have found thus far are either not paying enough or are internship opportunities.

 

This past Friday I spent the morning at Edelman PR firm. I was so excited to visit, since that is one of my dream jobs and companies. I spoke with a young lady who was a trainee; this is their internal term for interns. She along with many of the employees there told me that most started their careers in public relations in an internship role at a firm. At this time I had already accepted my job offer but it really got me thinking.

 

Initially I had planned on spending my free time freelancing so that I could maintain an up-to-date resume. Now, however, I am considering the possibilities of an internship in the spring. This option is very discouraging though for someone in my shoes. I am practically totally independent and I don’t have any additional sources of income barring my jobs, therefore a low-wage or unpaid internship is not a reasonable option.

 

Before visiting Edelman I was very excited about starting my new job, which I still am, however, visiting the firm reminded me why I loved the profession and that this is what I really want to do in life. I believe that public relations is a field of work that would never bore me (an important attribute to any job I take since I have such a short attention span.)

One of my best friends, Jasma Johnson, a graduate from the PR program at UNT, was so burnt out after her final semester that she dropped PR and began working on a Teacher’s Certification. Now she is a third grade teacher in theDallasIndependentSchool District. I won’t lie, there have been times this semester where I have shared her feelings. Unlike Jas however, I do want to continue in the profession and hope that one day my path leads me back to the career I love.


Music and Social Media

One of my close friends is a musician and he along with his brother and sister are working on their first official project. He has taken a page from the likes of celebrities and musicians who have featured themselves on social media and has reached out to A&R executives, producers and engineers. The response has actually been great! Since first posting his initial song, he has gotten over 2500 views on YouTube and has over 900 followers.

 

The impact of social media on artists and the music industry has transformed the way talent is discovered. There have been several very successful acts found on social media sites. The first social media site, MySpace actually began as a social media platform for musicians. YouTube and Facebook and in the last year or so, Twitter have made the “important people” in the music industry much more accessible.

 

The question was raised among my group of friends…How do you get those individuals to listen to you?

 

Over the course of this semester my friends have begun following artists and other music industry folk who are known to respond to tweets from followers. I felt they were on the right track. Along with following the right people, I believe that maintaining a strong presence on social media, not only Facebook and Twitter, will aid them in their journey. An idea that is in the works is the creation of a blog as well as a series of web videos that will allow the public to get to know the artists on a more personal level. This on top of the video diary that will detail the journey of the making of the project as well as some fun outtake moments will create a personalized experience for the viewers. I have also consulted them about creating a brand early and trying to build the brand. The group’s name is Un-Orthadox. Therefore the blog title will be Un-Orthadox Thoughts, The personalized videos will be Un-Orthadox moments and the video (which will actually be more like a documentary) will be “From South Central to the Staple Center: The Journey.” The project, which is a mixtape, is titled “South Central to the Staple Center. “

 

The music industry is one that children dream about. I know for myself, I once had aspirations about becoming a famous actress and moving to Los Angeles. When I browse Twitter I find many young women advertising themselves as models and actresses; and I have read stories about women who have been discovered on social media sites and have gone on to become very popular. With acting however, I always found it harder because your talent is not always so obvious. With music the artist can sing at the drop of a dime, reciting a monologue is not so compelling.

 

It is my hope that this group of very talented musicians will get  their music listened to by the right individual. The idea that the process is any easier is a falsehood, although with greater access to the right people the process might be a bit more convenient.


User’s Liability on Social Media

 

Social media has fast become the primary source of communication among Americans. With this evolution comes an implication of perceived rights and privileges. One of the most important concepts to individuals in American society is the “right to privacy.” Although, technically, we are not given a constitutional right to privacy, it is a value that many take very seriously.

 

Facebook and Twitter are realms in which people share their lives, both personally and professionally. This creates a dilemma in the sense that privacy is not an immediate concern, until an issue arises. With the many updates to Facebook have come the evolvements of privacy settings. Allowing users to control the flow of information presented to the world. The newest social platform, Google + has taken the privacy concept a step further by allowing users to hand pick the people in which information is directed to. These changes are strides in the right direction; however, the awareness of these options is not widely recognized.

 

Another issue that is prevalent in the social media world is the rise in libel. Many people use social media platforms for personal purposes. This leads to sharing opinions, opinions that at times can cause harm to others, leading to libel which leads to legal inferences. Although many users of social media are young adults, this is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. I expect to see a rise in the number of cases brought to court over social media libel. Although the first Facebook libel case was presented and thrown out this past summer, I expect to see many more in the next few years.  Something else individuals should keep in mind is the fact that once something is written it can be permanent. According to the blog Splendid Communications, once you delete a post on Facebook, it can still be accessed. This is something that lawyers will probably use in future cases.

 

Social media etiquette or being grammatically responsible when dealing with others online is imperative and might possibly need to be taught in high school or middle school for future generations to understand the seriousness of the matter. Perhaps there should be a rulebook for people on the usage of social media, but until that day individuals must regulate themselves. The first step in this process, and perhaps the most important, is knowing what libel is and what is considered defamatory.  Although blogs are used as a medium for self-expression they are also viewed as places where people go to get information and often times use the content as if it were concrete fact.  In my opinion, the burden for regulation and choosing words carefully is most pressing for bloggers.

 

 

There have been many situations in which one’s actions online have come back to haunt them in real life. A personal experience of mine revolves around friend who was injured at a club on New Years Eve a few years back. She was a recent college graduate and had not removed any pictures from her college party years. When she sued the club for her medical bills, the defense lawyers attempted to paint a picture of her as a heavy-drinking party girl, which she was not. They even went as far as to take pictures from her Facebook account (some of which I was in) and blow them up to display in the courtroom. Upon entering the court my friend was shocked to find pictures from Halloween and other “fun nights on Fry street.”  This is a great example of the importance of privacy settings on Facebook and controlling the content you share with the world.

 

Professionally, public relations specialists need to inform clients of the ramifications of the words used online. Companies can get into grey areas when writing about competition or other companies, even on their personal pages, especially if they are publically associated with a certain company.

 

The power of words expressed online has been very evident in recent months with the rise in suicides because of online bullying. The social and other media campaigns that have been launched in response show the benefits and the influence of the new medium. Overall, individuals should approach their online presence the same way they approach every day life. The decisions we make online are no different and have the same consequences as those in real life.