I believe in reporting on newsworthy events and writing with integrity. Thankfully, I have not had difficult run-ins with people in my journalism career. Luckily, as a whole, our program has not had run-ins as we did in years past. Last year we had complications with the 2016 Presidential Election. Our staff was accused of being too liberal. This year I have run into several ethical situations, some of which I had to handle on a time crunch.
I took a photo of our principal Mike Weaver to advertise to our seniors that the deadline for senior quotes and photos was approaching quickly. Recently, there were marketing students that decided to sell T-shirts with Weaver’s face on them. I found out that these students used my picture without permission. Both my adviser and I were angry that my photo was being broadcasted and literally worn around the school. I would have gladly let the students use my photo if they asked permission, saving me a lot of frustration. I learned a lot about people and the work that I put on the internet. I now know that anyone can take something I have made and turn it into something they call “their own.” I feel that it was almost plagiarism.
One of the most controversial things I’ve done in my journalism career was to publicly call out a fellow student. After the recent racist events in Charlottesville, I was told by a student to “stop tweeting about Trump.” It infuriated me enough to the point I wrote about it and posted it on our school website. In my opinion, I wrote a fantastic opinion article, but I received some backlash. If you want to find my opinion article, it is under the "Writing" tab. I learned that even though I have my own opinions, of course everyone has their own as well. The same student who confronted me felt the need to take to social media. I decided not to reply, I didn’t need to get into a fight on social media with someone who obviously only read the part of my article concerning him, not the hate crimes I was more distressed about.
Outside of my high school I have had run-ins as well. Recently, my photo of a Vista basketball player was used on Colorado Preps to advertise the 4A/5A Girls basketball playoff brackets. I wasn't given credit for my photo and had to find out my photo was used by finding the post on Twitter. I emailed Kevin Shaffer to request for credit for my photo that was used. I have yet to hear back or to receive credit. I yet again learned that my content that I publish online can be used and misconstrued without my permission. I hope in the future people will take high school journalists more seriously and hand out credit when it is deserved. The link to the article is here.
Another time I had a run-in while I was trying to photograph the cheer team at state. In MVM, we all have stories of being on a time crunch, a lot of them have a common thread; not being taken seriously. Sometimes we have to sprint back to the newsroom to grab a forgotten battery, or run out of room on our SD cards. At the Denver Coliseum, I jumped up from my seat and ran towards the floor with my camera and CHSAA pass in hand. An employee wouldn't let me on the floor although there were other student and professional photographers down there. I would have found my way around it if I had more time but unfortunately Vista was about to preform. I made my way down to the lowest level of seating, squatted and aimed my camera through the railing. I was annoyed I wasn't recognized enough to be on the competition floor, but journalism takes priority and I had to get my content. My photos from the competition are found here.
One of the most recent law and ethics situations I've encountered was in my own program. While I was busy organizing the all-inclusive Wish Week news magazine, the editors-in-chief changed my feature on the 2018 Wish Kid, Gabby, without my knowledge. When I opened the published issue and flipped to my feature, I had realized that it was not my copy. The version that was published had simple grammatical and journalistic style errors and simple typos such as spelling Gabby's name wrong. Not only was my story no longer in chronological order, it didn't do Gabby or her family justice to how my interview went. I learned a lot about being in charge when this happened. After this occurrence, I put in place a new rule stating that no matter who edits a story (editors-in-chief to a brand new staff member level) must inform the author of the edits. The reason this struck such a chord with me is because it was the most important feature and something very personal and time consuming to me. I drove an hour both ways to make sure I had a great article. When it was published with errors that weren't originally there, I was extremely embarrassed and disappointed. I set the new guideline for our program so it wouldn't happen to someone such as a staff member who doesn't have much the experience to know what to do in these situations. If you would like to read my original version it is under the "Writing" tab.
Essentially, I've learned a lot about journalism through trial and error. I now understand the ethics of journalism itself and the First Amendment, but I have furthered my knowledge in personal ethics. I never back down when someone is trying to belittle my opinions and freedom of speech. I speak up for myself in difficult times and know the extensive abilities publishing my work gives other people.