Merrill’s Arguments in “the Professionalization of Journalism” Against Professionalizing Journalism

1682 words 7 pages
Merrill’s arguments in “The Professionalization of Journalism” against professionalizing journalism

What is a profession? The Oxford English Dictionary defines professions as that way of life/manner of making a living that involves the application of a specialized knowledge of particular subjects, field, or science to fee-paying clientele. Examples of professions include nursing, architecture, medicine and engineering.

Although journalism has some characteristics of a profession, for Merrill it cannot be considered a profession due to the fact that journalists do not have a direct relationship with their clients, there are no entry requirements and they do not follow a prescribed code of ethics or a standard way by which their behavior
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The role differentiated behavior displayed in this example is similar to the stance that would be taken by a lawyer to his client as against someone who is not his client. The lawyer as a professional possesses certain skills and knowledge and has a duty to legally represent and defend his client with limits; someone who is not a lawyer cannot and is not obligated to do so. Wassestrom admires (and said most people do as well) how lawyers are able to put on a “vigorous and persuasive” defense for the client even if they know their own client is guilty against the lawyer/defendant the opposing party who the lawyers know is innocent.

One example of a role-differentiated obligation of a lawyer which Wasserstrom states is wrong is that of the case law in California which allows the defendant in a rape case to secure an order from the court requiring the plaintiff to submit to a psychiatric examination before trial. This is done in the hope that the results may help to prove that the defendant did not perform the act. A pretrial of this kind is not available for any other crime and Wasserstrom argues that no special provision should be made for any particular case.

Consider this issues that set a moral dilemma to lawyers: Should lawyers refuse to draft a will leaving bequests to children who opposed the war in Vietnam because he thinks it is wrong? Or should a lawyer refuse to advise a wealthy client of a tax

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