Press Corps Committee :El Universal Position Paper 

Press Corps Committee Best Position Paper 

Boston Invitational Model United Nations Conference 2017

 

Topic 1: Journalists as activists

El Universal

Following the U.S.A’s widely discussed elections of 2017 and the growing hostilities between the Trump administration and the American press, the very essence of journalism has been laid on the international table for debate. Over the past few years, there was a global rise in political advocacy among citizens and journalists alike. While some media outlets condemn advocacy journalism as a breach of the five core values of journalism, others argue that only by caring for a particular cause can a journalist fulfill his or her job of connecting world events with the public. In light of the upcoming general presidential elections in Mexico, local news agencies have become more important than ever in disseminating the truth to Mexican citizens. Established in 1916 to report on the end of the Mexican revolution and the creation of the new Mexican Constitution, El Universal believes that while maintaining a strict standard of integrity, impartiality, and independence in reporting, all journalists are ultimately proponents of free speech and serve as checks on political power. Only by adhering to these journalism ethics can Mexico have a fair and efficacious media coverage of the upcoming elections and uncorrupted relations between local media and the government.

Although El Universal understands the pressure of political affiliation and the benefits of financial ties to another organization, we denounce the usage of Agenda setting based on public interest or political and financial ties because it violates the core value of journalism: fairness in representation. In 1996, the independence and pluralism of El Universal bothered many politicians, who consequently attempted to change our editorial lines through the arrests of several of our journalists. However, this attempt was futile because we continued to commit to upstanding journalism that serves the whole society. Without an adherence to clearly defined journalism ethics, journalism can easily disintegrate into public relations.All stories have at least two facets. Ignoring a perspective in order to please the readers or adhere to a political or financial alliance would strip journalism of its duty to report on the whole story and all of its characters fairly as well as to connect the audience with the truth of occurring events. For example, during the U.S elections of 2017, many media companies reported on Donald Trump excessively because he drew audiences, who boosted ratings and brought in profits. Consequently, in search of the financial boost, the editorial lines of those media groups were not proportionally created, and many equally important events were downplayed because they did not draw enough audience attention. This in turn further impacted the political climate and public policies of the U.S, leading to controversial debates over fake news and media representation.  Furthermore, stories that become associated with marketing (through internet polls and data advertisements,) to determine the type of information the public wants to hear affects other media agencies. After other news agencies report on similarly biased stories, the chain of events ultimately results in an inaccurate presentation of society and politics through the media.

While each journalist has his or her own private views towards political and social issues, these biases should not be present in their workplaces and in the articles they write. Unbiased and impartial, the only cause a journalist stands for professionally is freedom of speech and expression. According to SPJ(Society of Professional Journalists), it is a journalist’s job to seek out the truth and only present the facts for the public to draw their own conclusions from. The truth about our society will always be uncovered by an accurately proportioned line of stories. The ultimate goal of all news agencies is to represent an unabridged version of society and embody the whole audience regardless of race, religion, political affiliation and social status. When used inappropriately, activism can impair a journalist’s vision. Reporting with a set agenda in mind arrests a story from being fully developed from all perspectives. Cracks that can lead to discoveries often go unexplored and hidden from the public. Readers might also become skeptical of the ideas reported in the media and even ignore the things published because they disagree with the bias used. Continued over a duration, the audiences may lose complete trust in the media’s ability to report true, unbiased events and the role of journalism in disseminating the truth would become void. To avoid this situation and promote robust public debates, El Universal implores journalists to remain fair, open-minded and to reflect all significant opinions as they explore a range of disparate views regarding an issue.

However, El Universal is not in opposition to all forms of opinion based advocacy. The espousals of people of all political, socioeconomic, and racial identities are voiced and discussed through the newspaper’s opinions section. The newspaper has had a long history of publishing articles written by social activists. In 1969, El Universal welcomed Heberto Castillo, a social activist who sent his articles every week from prison about combative subjects, and leaders of the Mexican Communist Party to write for the print newspaper. The newspaper believes that by presenting the public with a variety of opinions on current issues, we further enrich our readers’ understanding of society and encourage them to find their own voices. Nevertheless, to avoid misleading our readers, El Universal separates the opinion pieces from unbiased stories in the layout of both our print and online newspaper and label them clearly.

Bibliography:

“Agenda Setting Theory.” Communication Studies. March 27, 2012. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://www.communicationstudies.com/communication-theories/agenda-setting-theory.

Brewer, Written By David. “David Brewer.” Media Helping Media. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://www.mediahelpingmedia.org/training-resources/journalism-basics/341-are-journalism-and-activism-compatible.

El Universal, Compañia Periodística Nacional. México. “98 years of history.” El Universal. July 30, 2015. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://archivo.eluniversal.com.mx/in-english/2014/universal-98-anniversary-95226.html.

“SPJ Code of Ethics – Society of Professional Journalists.” Society of Professional Journalists – Improving and protecting journalism since 1909. Accessed February 02, 2018. https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp.

 

Topic 2: Who are journalists?

El Universal

As communicational technology continue to advance and connect the global community, online nontraditional sources of media began to surpass conventional print media in popularity due to their convenience and rapidity. Many historically significant news agencies such as The Washington Post and El Universal further developed their websites, making it easier for readers to consume daily news at the palms of their hands. However, the rise of online journalism in this age of abundant information has given birth to the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information on internet blogs by members the general public, who often do not have the legitimate training demanded by traditional media. These unconventional sources of information has brought the very annotation of journalism into question, fuelling controversial court cases and international debates on topics of shield laws. El Universal believes that journalists are defined by their professional qualifications, affiliation with a media group, and the quality of their reporting. These standards ensure the professional integrity of journalism, preventing it from deteriorating into illegitimate gossip. Therefore, laws that protect the freedom of a journalist should only apply to those who meet this criteria.

Defined as the process in which the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, The term citizen journalism is a misnomer. The characterisation of this social development as journalism fails to address the strict standards of reporting and core values that the traditional profession pertains. Rather, it is more accurate to regard citizen journalism as user generated content. In modern society, anybody with access to a device and internet has the ability to release information such as videos, photos, and writings into the world. This opens the news flow to the strong possibilities of fraud and abuse, as most citizens are unfamiliar with the concepts of impartiality, skepticism, and fact-checking found in quality journalism. As a result, misinformation can be posted and circulated globally in less than a minute. Inaccurate and biased information serve as fake news and clickbait, potentially damaging the people’s relationships with each other, the media, and the government.

Because of these serious consequences, El Universal does not use any public generated content such as youtube videos or blog entries unless they come from a dependable source and are verified by our journalists. We hope to minimise the damages done by unreliable citizen journalism through holding our journalists to standards of competency and publishing objective, informative, and quality articles. Although El Universal accepts submissions from people of all professions and backgrounds, these articles are clearly labeled and displayed only under the opinions section. The opinion section is separated from the regular news articles, which is something that many online news blogs often fail to do. In the past, we have welcomed the views of social activist Heberto Castillo and the leaders of the Mexican Communist party. We believe that the incorporation of opinion pieces enrich our readers’ learning experiences and help give our newspaper structured, but diverse perspectives.

El Universal also believes in strengthening protections for Mexican journalists. In recent years, Mexico has become the number one most dangerous place for journalists outside of conflict areas. Six journalists have been killed in the last year alone, and many more live in a state of constant threat from organized crime. One of the most violent places in the country is the Mexican border city Chihuahua, where reporters are continuously targeted for their reports on the local drug trafficking. Past actions include the law to protect journalists secrets in 2011 and the establishment of the committee to protect journalists. However, neither actions have succeeded in completely eliminating the dangers faced by journalists who report on criminal activities. The murders of journalists throw a shadow over the whole Mexican media platform. Because of these threats, Mexican journalists are given the choices of changing professions or censoring their stories. Since journalism is an indispensable constraint on corruption and power, these growing threats to journalists jeopardize the profession’s integrity and qualities of delivering necessary news to citizens. Therefore, this threat must be addressed immediately within the media companies, as an exacerbated continuation of this problem could lead to the indirect control of editorial lines of the Mexican press corporations by dangerous drug cartels, potentially endangering the political, social, and financial climate of the country.

Bibliography:

Alderman, Tom. “Citizen Journalism: Can We Trust it?” The Huffington Post. April 17, 2008. Accessed February 02, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-alderman/citizen-journalism-can-we_b_97286.html.

“‘Citizen Journalism’ Is a Catastrophe Right Now, and It’ll Only Get Worse.” Select All. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/10/citizen-journalism-is-a-catastrophe-itll-only-get-worse.html.

“Citizen journalism.” Wikipedia. February 01, 2018. Accessed February 02, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_journalism.

“El periódico de México líder en noticias y clasificados.” El Universal. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/.

El Universal, Compañia Periodística Nacional. México. “98 years of history.” El Universal. July 30, 2015. Accessed February 02, 2018. http://archivo.eluniversal.com.mx/in-english/2014/universal-98-anniversary-95226.html.

“State legislature passes first law in Mexico protecting secrecy of journalists’ sources.” Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Accessed February 02, 2018. https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/state-legislature-passes-first-law-mexico-protecting-secrecy-journalists-sources.

 


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