Oconee County Observations

The Writer
The writer of the blogger on Oconee County Observations is Dr. Lee Becker. His profile that he posted on the site shows that he holds a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although his first degree was in journalism, he is not a professional journalist. He says that he enjoys blogging. As a communication and journalism major, he enjoys writing and he blogs for this site because according to him, blogging “is one of my hobbies” (2015).
Purpose of Site
The Oconee County Observation site is a Special Interest site that can be accessed by logging on to http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org. The purpose of this site is clearly written on the top of the page, right after their name on the website. Their purpose is stated as “news and comments about developments in Oconee County, Georgia.” They report news in the county from the meeting of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to concerned citizens of Oconee county. The site uses this medium to inform and influence the citizens of Oconee County and to rally them to support or oppose a particular project proposed by the county. For example, the widening of US Road 441 in the south of the county. There is a bias in this site. Dr. Becker clearly stated that his “experiences and aspirations for the county have influence on what I post here.” The model of journalism that is exhibited on this site is that of Interest Group journalism where the writer points to a conclusion and this conclusion is geared to persuade a particular audience, which in this case, the citizens of Oconee County in Georgia.
Use of SPJ’s Code of Ethics
As a non-professional journalist, the writer in Oconee County Observations, Dr. Becker, reports the county’s information to his audience, but does not for the most part, adhere to the Standards of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. One of the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is to “Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting”(SPJ, 2016). Dr. Becker’s writings are influenced by his own opinion and aspirations, and persuading his audience to see things the way he sees them.
Same Standard For Professional and Non-professional?
In my opinion, everyone reporting news should be held accountable for what they report, whether they are called professionals or not. They should all try to seek truth and report it. However, with the various new media technology and the rush for everyone to be the first to report “breaking news,” writers are not patient to verify all information before reporting it. That is why it is important for news consumers to beware of who they get the true news from. Professional journalists have fallen short of living to the ethics of their profession. It is therefore not surprising that non-professional journalists like bloggers will also find it difficult to hold on to the same professional standards.
References
Becker, Lee. (2015). Oconee County Observations. In Oconee County Observations. Retrieved
January 23, 2016, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org
Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2016, from
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

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