The Role of the Media in Society

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The documentary focuses on the position of the media, in society, and the ethics surrounding institutions that claim to spread information among humankind. To this end, the video highlights The New York Times as a case study of the effects of technology on media and the impacts of journalistic integrity on the trust in print media as a source of information. First, it tackles the massive shift away from print media that broadcasting corporations had to deal with in the aftermath of the computer age at the turn of the millennium. With more people subscribing to online platforms every day, print media in the early 21st century was undergoing a revolution accruing to the sharp drop in advertising revenue[1]. This brings the question of the place of journalism in society; is it ethical to pay for information? Moreover, if so, which news entities should be considered the bar and by what measure?

Central Stakeholders

            In any discussion regarding the media, the primary stakeholders are the people of the nation, the government of the country, as well as the governments of other nations. Regarding the economic hardships experienced by many print news outlets as a result of the internet, limited capital resource means the limited ability for these news outlets, to remain functional, much less endeavor to acquire truthful information. In such a scenario, the people, are then left in darkness from the truth, which in turn inhibits them from making informed decisions. Consequently, governments often disintegrate into decadence in the absence of media to check their actions and hold them accountable to their citizens. Media outlets are also ethically bound to publish material which does not compromise the security integrity of their nation-state, as this would be highly beneficial to governments who could then use the information to gain an economic, political or military advantage.

Technical/Professional Problem

            The major problem that faced the media at the turn of the 21st century was that of the falling advertising revenue, which, for a long time, had sustained the newspaper industry and many corporations that existed within this space[2]. Conflict ensued when people opted to obtain their information virtually for free on the internet, rather than pay for printed newspapers. With this shift of attention away from the printed sources of information, to online presences in the form of websites and blogs, so did the shift in advertising revenue.

Ethical Problem

            The crux of the ethical dilemma that haunted the media during the first half of the 21st century is its purpose in society, particularly regarding the dissemination of inflammatory information, information linked to national security and at times, downright false data. This, in essence, is regarding the scandals involving the New York Times reporters Jason Blair and Judith Miller, and WikiLeaks and the drone bombings that were happening in the middle east. Applying Kantian ethics to the case, it is evident that journalists need to disseminate information which is not aimed at enhancing self-serving propaganda, but that which promotes truth. According to Kant, journalists need to be conscious of the implications of their reporting on the community. In Aristotelian ethics, ethical actions only come about as a result of the purposive actions of people with character. Character, according to Aristotle, is a stable equipoise of the soul. In this regard, journalists should act with the character as described by Aristotle, as in doing so, only beautiful things can result.

            Another ethical perspective through which this case can be critiqued is Bentham’s ethical theory which is vested in his moral principle of utilitarianism. In Bentham’s ethical viewpoint, moral actions are less defined by the nature of their actors than they are by the consequences that result from them. In this respect, if we consider the role of journalism in society, it is evident that by passing on truthful information from the source to each person in a given community, the media effectively stood in line with the enlightenment. However, media stories that are inflammatory, for instance, Judith Miller’s coverage of the nuclear situation in the middle east, could have far-reaching and disastrous effects[3].

Recommendations and Potential Criticisms

My solution to the technical problem concerning the economics of investigative journalism would be that a paywall is necessary to cover the immense costs of running a large media organization with a presence both in print as well as online. However, this paywall need not be set up in a deterring manner, for instance, allowing a given free number of articles also increase consumer loyalty. Regarding the ethical problem facing the media, I think Bentham’s ethical theory provides the best guideline for journalists particularly in matters concerning; journalistic integrity, the publishing of information that could compromise national security, and the publication of hyperbole and in some cases, abject lies. In my regard, this solution will hold up to critique from other ethical perspectives, as it emphasizes that the best course of action for the media in their efforts to bring information to people, is to consider the implicit and explicit consequences of the nature of the information they publicize and the manner in which they do it.


 "Watch Page One Inside the New York Times Online Free Putlocker - Putlocker – Watch Movies Online Free." Putlockerstv.Ac. Last modified 2018. Accessed February 15, 2018.


"Watch Page One Inside The New York Times Online Free Putlocker - Putlocker – Watch Movies Online Free", Putlockerstv.Ac, last modified 2018, accessed February 15, 2018,


"Watch Page One Inside The New York Times Online Free Putlocker - Putlocker – Watch Movies Online Free", Putlockerstv.Ac, last modified 2018, accessed February 15, 2018,

[3] "Watch Page One Inside The New York Times Online Free Putlocker - Putlocker – Watch Movies Online Free", Putlockerstv.Ac, last modified 2018, accessed February 15, 2018,

October 30, 2023



Communication News media

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