Coalesce or collide? Ethics, technology, and tv journalism 1991

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 2 (2):21 – 31 (1987)
Abstract
By strict definition, television journalism, like every form of journalism, has always been ?unreal?; some form of constructed mediated reality.1 But now, television journalism is coming to a crossroads?one where ethics and technology will meet squarely at right angles if not head?on. And it is reality, even the constructed mediated kind, that will be at risk. In a few years, television journalism at the network and local levels will have the capability, through television's emerging conversion from analog to digital technology, to easily manipulate video and audio in utterly fundamental ways. It will be simple to completely re?shape, even to create, reality. The question won't be: ?Is it live or is it Memorex?"2 rather, it will be something like: ?Is it real or is it digitex?"3This article explores this new technology and the concomitant merger of form and substance in television journalism; it presents several hypothetical examples of this kind of unethical behavior and the motivations behind them; and, finally, it wonders what impact unethical digitexing might have on the First Amendment
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