The recent sacking of two Channel Nine journalists and a producer highlight the pressures on aspiring reporters.
Recent UQ journalism graduate Sarah Greenhalgh, 21, said she has had doubts about her future and the industry.
Now working as a journalist at Win evening news in Mackay Ms Greenhalgh emphasised the difficulties in decisions for young journalists, particularly the battle whether one should follow instructions from their superiors at all times or to act in accordance with the ethics and standards taught in university.
When asked if she would have stood up for herself in the instance of the helicopter scandal, she answered with much empathy:
“Well probably not! Being a new journalist and being the new kid on the block, you’re more then likely going to do what you’re told. You’re not going to argue with the producer or the news director for fear that you’re going to be told, well ok, there is 20 other people who have just graduated as well and are waiting for this chance, if you’re not going to do what we tell you, well then, see you later!”
While there have been many changes in the climate of journalism over the past decade, particularly influenced by technological advances, it seems that certain difficulties, including reporting on grief or dealing with emotionally affected sources, continues to place strain and challenges on the journalists of today.
“There is still a couple of things that make me think to myself, ‘do I really want to be apart of this industry?’ When dealing with sensitive situations people can be so reluctant to answer the questions! You feel like, even though you’re doing your job, at the same time, you don’t want to pry into these people’s business. There is a really fine line, and I think that’s the hardest part about journalism,” says Ms Greenhalgh.
Her perspective offers a fresh insight and a new-journalist’s outlook regarding this recent scandal, suggesting that not only has this incident acted as a reminder to practising journalists of the fundamental values of objectivity, honesty and fairness, but also a warning that as a voice to the public, journalists are continually monitored.
See reporter, Sarah Greenhalgh, on Channel Win evening news, Mackay.