ETHICS IN JOURNALISM
Some of the Basics by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ
Question: How do you define ethics?
Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
ETH·ICS [ETH-IKS]
1. a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.	

2. the rules of conduct in respect to a part...
Society of Professional Journalists
Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
Society of Professional Journalists
•Started in 1908 at DePauw University
•Adopted it’s first code of Ethics in 1926
•It wa...
CODE OF ETHICS
It is widely accepted and adopted by journalists around the
country. However, some are calling for revision...
CODE OF ETHICS
Society of Professional Journalists
Four Components
1. Seek truth and report it
2. Minimize harm
3.Act inde...
SEEKTRUTH AND REPORT IT
• First obligation is to tell the truth
• First loyalty is to it’s readers and viewers
— not adver...
SEEKTRUTH AND REPORT IT
• Don’t lie
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
• Don’t distort the truth
• Test accuracy,...
Question: If your newspaper or television
station were approached by (a police agency)
to participate in a “sting” designe...
Jim Hansen
Reporter
NBC teamed up with an organization called prevertedjustice.com.
Perverted-Justice.com scans chat rooms...
When police, armed with a search
warrant — and a Dateline camera
crew — showed up at prosecutor
Louis Conradt Jr.'s home i...
See Report on WFAA Dallas /
Ft.Worth,TX	

ABC Affiliate
Click logo
Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2...
Is this a justifiable, ethically defensible use of
deception?
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
LET’S DISCUSSTHE ...
Society of Professional Journalists
Avoid undercover or other
surreptitious methods of gathering
information except when t...
Society of Professional Journalists
Remain free of associations and
activities that may compromise
integrity or damage cre...
Society of Professional Journalists
Be wary of sources offering information for
favors or money, avoid bidding for news.

...
Society of Professional Journalists
Avoid misleading re-enactments
or staged news events. 	

If re-enactment is necessary ...
Society of Professional Journalists
Diligently seek out subjects of
news stories to give them the
opportunity to respond t...
Society of Professional Journalists
Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
CODE OF ETHICS
Source: Society of Profe...
DECISION: Let law enforcement conduct
sting operations and the media report on the
arrests.	

— By Robbie Rogers and Sara ...
CODE OF ETHICS
Society of Professional Journalists
Four Components
1. Seek truth and report it
2. Minimize harm
3.Act inde...
MINIMIZE HARM
•Ethical journalists treat
sources, subjects and
colleagues as human beings
deserving of respect.
Source: So...
MINIMIZE HARM
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Show compassion for
those who may be
affected adversely by
news ...
MINIMIZE HARM
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Be sensitive when
seeking or using
interviews or
photographs of ...
MINIMIZE HARM
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Recognize that private
people have a greater
right to control
in...
MINIMIZE HARM
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
• Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or
victims of ...
In 2003, PETA launched a new campaign, named
“Holocaust on Your Plate,” that compares the slaughter
of animals for human u...
Source:AnimalLiberationFront.com
PETA CAMPAIGN INCLUDED POSTERS LIKE BELOW
Click on photo to view full campaign
Created by...
A mix of legal questioning, high emotional ties, and extremely
poor taste make this an ethical case of high stakes and var...
CODE OF ETHICS
Society of Professional Journalists
Four Components
1. Seek truth and report it
2. Minimize harm
3.Act inde...
ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free
travel and special treatmen...
ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Disclose unavoidable conflicts.	

!
Be vigilant and courageou...
ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Frank Whelan, a features writer who also wrote a history col...
It’s unprofessional, and unethical, to engage in
activities that “may compromise integrity or
damage credibility.” 	

But ...
ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Question: If you are asked to cover a
story and you have a relative that works
as a high ranking member ...
You should let your editor or boss know.	

This is a conflict of interest. Someone else should	

cover the story.
ACT INDEP...
ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Question: If you are being paid as a
consultant or employee ...
You should let your editor or boss know.	

This is a conflict of interest. Someone else should	

cover the story.
ACT INDEP...
The host of a popular Detroit AM radio show
could be in hot water with the authorities.
!
The Detroit News reports federal...
This isn’t Gaddis’ first brush with alleged
impropriety involving money and broadcasting.
In 2009 she was fired from her p...
CODE OF ETHICS
Society of Professional Journalists
Four Components
1. Seek truth and report it
2. Minimize harm
3.Act inde...
BE ACCOUNTABLE
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Clarify and explain news coverage
and invite dialogue with the ...
BE ACCOUNTABLE
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.	

Created by Professo...
BE ACCOUNTABLE
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Expose unethical practices of
journalists and the news media.
C...
BE ACCOUNTABLE
Source: Society of Professional Journalists
Abide by the same high standards
to which they hold others.
Cre...
ETHICS IN JOURNALISM
Some of the Basics by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ
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Examining The Journalistic Code of Ethics

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This is an examination of the Journalistic Code of Ethics for the News Gathering Class at Bloomfield College for Spring 2014. The slide presentation was created by Professor Esther Dillard

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Examining The Journalistic Code of Ethics

  1. 1. ETHICS IN JOURNALISM Some of the Basics by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ
  2. 2. Question: How do you define ethics? Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  3. 3. ETH·ICS [ETH-IKS] 1. a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture. 2. the rules of conduct in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics. 3. that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions. Definition from dictionary.com plural noun Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  4. 4. Society of Professional Journalists Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  5. 5. Society of Professional Journalists •Started in 1908 at DePauw University •Adopted it’s first code of Ethics in 1926 •It was revised in 1973, 1987 and 1996 Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  6. 6. CODE OF ETHICS It is widely accepted and adopted by journalists around the country. However, some are calling for revisions in response to changes in media coverage. Society of Professional Journalists Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  7. 7. CODE OF ETHICS Society of Professional Journalists Four Components 1. Seek truth and report it 2. Minimize harm 3.Act independently 4. Be accountable Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  8. 8. SEEKTRUTH AND REPORT IT • First obligation is to tell the truth • First loyalty is to it’s readers and viewers — not advertisers or shareholders • Stay objective, unbiased and get a variety of viewpoints Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  9. 9. SEEKTRUTH AND REPORT IT • Don’t lie Source: Society of Professional Journalists • Don’t distort the truth • Test accuracy, check sources • Don’t re-enact or stage events • Don’t plagiarize Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  10. 10. Question: If your newspaper or television station were approached by (a police agency) to participate in a “sting” designed to identify real and potential perverts, should you go along, or say, “No thanks”? Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  11. 11. Jim Hansen Reporter NBC teamed up with an organization called prevertedjustice.com. Perverted-Justice.com scans chat rooms looking for men who can be lured into sexually explicit conversations with correspondents pretending to be underage boys and girls. It works with police and news media to entice the unsuspecting marks to set-up trysting places where the cops — and the cameras — are waiting. Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  12. 12. When police, armed with a search warrant — and a Dateline camera crew — showed up at prosecutor Louis Conradt Jr.'s home in Terrell, Texas, no one answered the door, according to the police who took part in the attempted arrest. After forcing their way into his home, police found the 56-year-old prosecutor in a hallway holding a semiautomatic handgun. "I'm not going to hurt anybody," he told police before firing a bullet into his own head. Source: Society of Professional Journalists ‘ ‘ Louis Conradt Jr. Former Kaufman County District Attorney One Result from NBC’s To Catch A Predator Show Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  13. 13. See Report on WFAA Dallas / Ft.Worth,TX ABC Affiliate Click logo Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  14. 14. Is this a justifiable, ethically defensible use of deception? Source: Society of Professional Journalists LET’S DISCUSSTHE QUESTIONS BELOW Should you buy into the agenda of an advocacy group? How ethical is the group itself? Do you compromise your “watchdog” role by cooperating with law enforcement? Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  15. 15. Society of Professional Journalists Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.
 CRITICS OF ‘To Catch A Predator’ SITE CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  16. 16. Society of Professional Journalists Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
 CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional Journalists CRITICS SITE Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  17. 17. Society of Professional Journalists Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money, avoid bidding for news.
 CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional Journalists CRITICS SITE Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  18. 18. Society of Professional Journalists Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
 CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional Journalists CRITICS SITE BE SURE IT’S FACT not FICTION Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  19. 19. Society of Professional Journalists Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
 CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional Journalists CRITICS SITE Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  20. 20. Society of Professional Journalists Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. CODE OF ETHICS Source: Society of Professional Journalists CRITICS SITE Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  21. 21. DECISION: Let law enforcement conduct sting operations and the media report on the arrests. — By Robbie Rogers and Sara Stone, Baylor University Society of Professional Journalists Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  22. 22. CODE OF ETHICS Society of Professional Journalists Four Components 1. Seek truth and report it 2. Minimize harm 3.Act independently 4. Be accountable * Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  23. 23. MINIMIZE HARM •Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Source: Society of Professional JournalistsCreated by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  24. 24. MINIMIZE HARM Source: Society of Professional Journalists Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects. Elderly Children Sick Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  25. 25. MINIMIZE HARM Source: Society of Professional Journalists Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  26. 26. MINIMIZE HARM Source: Society of Professional Journalists Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  27. 27. MINIMIZE HARM Source: Society of Professional Journalists • Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes. ! • Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges. ! • Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  28. 28. In 2003, PETA launched a new campaign, named “Holocaust on Your Plate,” that compares the slaughter of animals for human use to the murder of 6 million Jews in WWII. The question: Is “Holocaust on Your Plate” ethically wrong or a truthful comparison? Source: Society of Professional Journalists People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  29. 29. Source:AnimalLiberationFront.com PETA CAMPAIGN INCLUDED POSTERS LIKE BELOW Click on photo to view full campaign Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  30. 30. A mix of legal questioning, high emotional ties, and extremely poor taste make this an ethical case of high stakes and varied opinions, however a decision remains clear: PETA’s “Holocaust on a Plate” is ethically wrong. The mass-murder of millions in a catastrophic historical event should not be utilized as a communication tool to gain support for one’s organization. The comparison, while arguably similar in quantifiable terms, is disgustingly insensitive and takes advantage of others suffering to make a point. — by Jill Hamilton, University of Denver Source: Society of Professional Journalists ‘ ‘ Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  31. 31. CODE OF ETHICS Society of Professional Journalists Four Components 1. Seek truth and report it 2. Minimize harm 3.Act independently 4. Be accountable * Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  32. 32. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Source: Society of Professional Journalists Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  33. 33. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Source: Society of Professional Journalists Disclose unavoidable conflicts. ! Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. ! Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  34. 34. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Source: Society of Professional Journalists Frank Whelan, a features writer who also wrote a history column for the Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, took part in a gay rights parade in June 2006 and stirred up a classic ethical dilemma. The situation raises any number of questions about what is and isn’t a conflict of interest. The question: What should the “consequences” be for Frank Whelan? Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  35. 35. It’s unprofessional, and unethical, to engage in activities that “may compromise integrity or damage credibility.” But there are other questions that should be asked. Is “gay pride” a political cause? Was the parade a demonstration or merely a celebration, intended to advocate or merely to entertain? Source: Society of Professional Journalists — by Fred Brown and Nerissa Young, SPJ Ethics Committee ‘ ‘ Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  36. 36. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Question: If you are asked to cover a story and you have a relative that works as a high ranking member of the organization, should you go ahead and cover it? Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  37. 37. You should let your editor or boss know. This is a conflict of interest. Someone else should cover the story. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Answer: No. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  38. 38. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Source: Society of Professional Journalists Question: If you are being paid as a consultant or employee of an organization, should you cover a story involving that organization? Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  39. 39. You should let your editor or boss know. This is a conflict of interest. Someone else should cover the story. ACT INDEPENDENTLY Answer: No. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  40. 40. The host of a popular Detroit AM radio show could be in hot water with the authorities. ! The Detroit News reports federal agents are investigating $75,000 in payments made to a company owned by Mildred Gaddis, WCHB 1200 AM radio host. ! Two regular guest hosts on Gaddis’ show “Inside Detroit” made the payments, ex-Wayne County Assistant Executive Michael Grundy and Highland Park school board member Robert Davis. ! The two are now under indictment for embezzling public funds. Source: Huffington Post June 14, 2012 Mildred Gaddis WCHB AM Radio Host Under Investigation Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  41. 41. This isn’t Gaddis’ first brush with alleged impropriety involving money and broadcasting. In 2009 she was fired from her public access show on WADL-TV after a WXYZ report accused her of a pay-for-play scandal involving her taking cash payments from Detroit City Council candidates in exchange for interviews. ! According to MLive, reports alleged she was charging council hopefuls $1,000 a piece for airtime without announcing the payments. ! The Michigan Citizen reports that Gaddis admitted to taking $136,000 from the Detroit Public Schools in 2005, but failed to disclose the relationship to her listeners on her WCBH show. Mildred Gaddis WCHB AM Radio Host Under Investigation Source: Huffington Post June 14, 2012 Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  42. 42. CODE OF ETHICS Society of Professional Journalists Four Components 1. Seek truth and report it 2. Minimize harm 3.Act independently 4. Be accountable* Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  43. 43. BE ACCOUNTABLE Source: Society of Professional Journalists Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  44. 44. BE ACCOUNTABLE Source: Society of Professional Journalists Admit mistakes and correct them promptly. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  45. 45. BE ACCOUNTABLE Source: Society of Professional Journalists Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  46. 46. BE ACCOUNTABLE Source: Society of Professional Journalists Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others. Created by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College 2014
  47. 47. ETHICS IN JOURNALISM Some of the Basics by Professor Esther Dillard, Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ
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