For weeks we have seen a number of celebrities and important media figures giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. This inquiry intends to delve into the practices of the media and work out how ethical they are and how legal the methods of some journalists can be (“phone hacking” etc).
There are two things that most people are thinking because of these recent testimonies; the first is that journalists are unimaginable bastards, the second is that it is possible that they are also criminals.
The inquiry has seen evidence from popular celebrities, such as Hugh Grant, JK Rowling and Charlotte Church, (all considered by many as “national treasures”) and from the parents of Millie Dowler and Madeline McCann who most would consider to have gone through too much already to warrant pestering by these horrible people called reporters. This evidence paints rather distasteful picture of the profession I wish to enter and understandably so; many of the celebrity focussed journalists will literally stop at nothing to get an article.
Despite this, I have to point out an obvious irony; pretty much the only way to gather any information about the inquiry (other than watching the lengthy interviews themselves as I have tried to do as often as possible) is through the news… Which is written by these so called scumbag journalists.
It’s somewhat hypocritical to be calling these journalists horrible names whilst at the same time reading a report by one isn’t it? Obviously there are journalists out there reporting genuinely interesting stories on subjects which matter to the public. As far as I’m concerned, the people in those positions are the ones I respect, admire and aim to emulate; it may pay far better to dig up a story about a celebrity’s sex life by hacking their phone or by exaggerating a story to make it worth more, but I’d hate to throw my ethics out of the window just for a bit of money. I’m happy at the moment as a student with no money, so I shall be fine in the future without it as long as I have a little integrity.
The Leveson Inquiry is clearly very important to any journalist and in fact, to anyone who reads a newspaper or watches the news. It could drastically change the content of some of the tabloid papers from being less sensational and more realistic. Who knows, it could seriously affect printed news as we know it.
So of course we shouldn’t dismiss it as just “separating the wheat from the chaff” but I think that what is happening is essentially that. The outcome of the inquiry looks likely to change how much Journalists can pester celebrities and will probably get rid of those who perpetuate this stereotype, which even good journalists are subject to.
I agree, being a journalist may not be the noblest of jobs and I’ll be the first to say that good journalists are often awkward sods who are good at extracting information from people who don’t want to give it away. Still, I’d like to think that I won’t debase myself just for a job, and hopefully this Leveson Inquiry will create a world where journalists don’t need to do that just to get a good job, and I commend it for that.