Personal Ethics Statement

The following is a personal statement that guarantees that I will be a fair and honest journalist who follows the AJA and PRIA Code of Ethics. This statement was made after a number of weeks of personal reflection. Please take this passage very seriously, as I do.

Personal Ethics Statement

As a student at the University of Queensland, it is important to maintain a certain view on topics of interest so that healthy discussion and debate can be held. I have been forced into introspection and reflection on my life and what I plan on doing in the future in terms of a professional career and the decisions I make in the workforce. Being a media professional may be difficult in terms of remaining ethical and unbiased because of personal life experiences and having loyalties may be a conflict of interest. I never thought that knowing where my loyalties lie would impact my choices as a media professional and journalist, but this course has brought that to light. This statement will help to highlight where I plan on taking my life – what career I aspire to have – and how I plan on getting there. I will also reflect on what I’ve learnt throughout my time at university and how that has impacted me, and as a result, how it will help me accomplish my career as a journalist or media professional.

My main goal would be to end up working in the television industry, whether it be as a journalist or producer is entirely open-ended at this stage because I know that the media industry is extremely competitive. My major within the Bachelor of Communication is public relations (PR) so I am interested in pursuing a career in that field, particularly within the field of corporate management and human resources. I plan on being in television, and to get there, I have to start at the bottom. I also have to know where my loyalties lie and have a professional standpoint on censorship and ratings.

I have learnt to recognise where my loyalties lie, and honestly, I think it’s important for me to remain loyal to the values of my upbringing, where I come from and how I got to be the person I am today. For this, my family is (of course) a huge factor when I make decisions, as well as my Christian background, where I know that all people must be treated equally and everyone deserves a fair chance at life. Through looking at case studies, particularly in the King & Elliott case study Tall Tales, I’ve learned that today’s society isn’t entirely honest.  I would draw the line at telling lies when reporting news or producing a documentary based on real life where a person’s reputation is at stake.

Something else I’ve learned throughout my studies that will help me make ethical decisions in the workplace is the Potter Box Method, whereby a model of reasoning is examined and applied to the situation. I think the Potter Box Method reflects how I would make my decisions in the workforce and help to resolve conflict, and although this method doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome for all parties involved, it can often help in times of difficult decision making. The four main steps of using the Potter Box Method are:

  1. Define the situation you’re in.
    • This needs to be done objectively.
  2. Identify your values.
    • What principle does each value honour and have you compared the merits of differing values?
  3. Select principles
  4. Choose loyalties.

These are the four important steps in ethical decision making that I plan on following when faced with not just an ethical dilemma, but any problem in the workplace.

Finally, I think it is important for me to address censorship in the media, particularly focussing on the case study Whose Tube Is It Anyway? which looks at the ethical implications of how YouTube is used and whether or not it is right or wrong to upload content to the popular social networking site that may be in breach of copyright laws for the benefit of the greater public. Firstly, one may question whose fault it is: the downloader or the uploader? The person who uploads the film, I think, is in the wrong here because although the downloader knows the rules of copyright, an uploader does too, and they should know not to make content available to the public for free. In saying this though, I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with streaming a YouTube video for educational or entertainment purposes – particularly for use in one’s own home. Where I would draw the line however, is downloading the video for distribution to the public to save on their hard drives.

I feel that having a strong standpoint and opinion on these topics will help me accomplish my goal of working in the television and media industry and I will do my utmost to uphold my integrity and ethical standpoint as a media professional.

Annabelle Amos

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