The Summer of No Respect

Aruba is hot.

The heat must have scrambled everyone’s faculties a bit. Especially those in the digital media, chasing tragic accidents, depicting spectacular death scenes, and documenting the tireless work of the immigration police.

A lot has been written in the past few days about the local public’s insatiable thirst for outrageous video clips and sound bites. One of my more intelligent colleagues in the media labeled it correctly, as the pursuit of “likes,” on social media.

We got into the habit of getting upset, fast and furiously, then moving on to the next story, with our emotions spent, for zero results.

Outrage for the sake of the adrenaline rush, that leaves us spent, until the next episode, without accomplishing any resolution of change.

Two explicit, brutal videos awoke the local public’s sensitivities. That of the 8-year old, badly injured in the UTV accident on Malmok, and that of an addict by the name of Ski, sprawled on a chipped, wet concrete floor, behind the Oranjestad fruit market, possibly already dead, from internal complication resulting from a gun shot wound, received a few days prior, for being at the wrong time at the wrong place.

The community protested the disrespect, robbing victims of their dignity, and the intrusion of privacy. The so-called journalists spent two entire days defending their positions, and painting themselves as saviors of the day!

Then I got a WhatsApp message from one of the MinPres PR funnels. He jumped on the band wagon, identifying a golden opportunity to settle the score with the often-unfriendly online media source: This is your opportunity, the message said, to show your support of norms, ethics and values by ‘unliking’ the ambulance chasing online media source, 5,000 people already unliked them yesterday, join the movement to demonstrate that we’re against gutter journalism. Unlike their FB page.

Needless to say, a politically motivated call for action. These days everything is politically motivated.  

I visited our two biggest online news providers, 24Ora, with 55.8k likes vs MasNoticia with 45.7k likes, indeed the first one shows a 5% drop in ‘likes.’ The campaign was effective, though their engagement rate is double, which is what counts.

Both websites posted a whopping 250 posts this week, they are hard-working people, no doubt.

I found a great resource on line, with quaint and old-fashioned information

https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

The professional journalist code of ethics goes the following:

Seek Truth and Report it

Minimize Harm

Act Independently

Be Accountable and Transparent

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August 22, 2018
Rona Coster
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