Media organisations and professionals, like everyone else, are under constant pressure to keep their product fresh and attractive for the buying public.
That pressure has grown by leaps and bounds in what has, over recent years, been a declining global economy triggering slashed profits and, for many entities, catastrophic losses.
Those and related realities, we submit, may have helped to motivate the decision of two Australian radio station DJs to make that hoax call to a British hospital posing as Royal relatives of Prince William's pregnant wife.
As we are now hearing, the prank had an unexpected consequence — the death, apparently by suicide, of a distressed nurse who answered the call and gave confidential information about the Duchess of York's medical condition in the belief that it was genuine.
That two media practitioners would have considered it professionally appropriate to attempt such a stunt was bad enough. Worse, was the decision of their superiors at the radio station, the gatekeepers, to broadcast the recorded phone conversations.
Puffed up by the success of their prank, the two DJs apparently even boasted about it on social media. That was until news of the nurse's death.
They have since left the airwaves and the radio station itself is now under extreme pressure, according to the latest news reports.
This most unfortunate incident should not be viewed as isolated. It came just days after news broke that an investigation into British newspaper practice flowing from a phone-hacking scandal has now led to recommendations for a system of press regulation in Britain backed by statute of Parliament.
Readers will recall that allegations that some British journalists used illegal and immoral methods, including phone hacking, to access and even manipulate information led to the closure last year of the popular, globally read newspaper News of the World.
Even that most respected of news organisations, the BBC, has come under fire in recent times for alleged unprofessional behaviour.
Media practitioners in Jamaica who last week celebrated Journalism Week should not make the mistake of believing these episodes far across the sea are of no concern to us.
Jamaican media houses are also being pounded by the harsh economy, and we, too, are under pressure to be innovative and to freshen up our product.
The lessons from the Australian hoax call and from the missteps of British media must be taken seriously by all.
Even as we strive to satisfy the people's right to know, to improve our product and find an even keel in hard times, we must always be on the alert to prevent distasteful behaviour. Also, we must make sure that our actions do not betray the public trust.