Doing Ethics inJournalism
What is ethics?   ETHOS = character    – Personal foundations of decision making in      deciding between right and wrong...
Ethical Ideology   Idealism    – The extent to which you believe that the best      outcomes always result if broad, huma...
Ideological Approach to Moral                      Judgment Based on Answers                     to Ethics Position Questi...
Law ≠ Ethics   Certain professions adopt guidelines for    ethical behaviors that “should” be followed    by members of t...
Society of Professional Journalists          Code of Ethics Seek Truth and Report It Minimize Harm Act Independently B...
Public Relations Society of America          Code of Ethics Advocacy                    Independence Honesty           ...
Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism  Doing ethics injournalism must be both learned and    developed.
Excellent Journalism   vs. Ethical JournalismDoing ethics in journalism is    reasoned, principled andconsistent thinking ...
Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism  Doing ethics injournalism is about     individual   responsibility.
Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism  Doing ethics injournalism is aboutbeing accountable.
Excellent Journalism   vs. Ethical JournalismDoing ethics in journalism   is about the critically  important contribution ...
Dual Role/Dilemmas ofJournalist & PR Practitioners       Rights Granted       by First Amendment and various legal cases/r...
Ask These 10 Questions to Make Good Ethical Decisions…1.   What do I know? What do I need to know?2.   What is my journali...
Ask These 10 Questions toMake Good Ethical Decisions…6.  Who are the stakeholders -- those affected by my    decision? Wha...
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COM355 M4_doing ethics journalism

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Excellent Journalism vs. Ethical Journalism, Doing Ethics in Journalism

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  • --use 10 questions on page 30-31 for Oct. 22 reflection paper on Colorado amendments/referendums
  • Ethics: a form of inquiry concerned with the process of finding rational justifications for our actions when the values that we hold come into conflict. Morality: a set of beliefs that we embrace to help us understand what is good and what is bad in the world. (Media Ethics book, page 5)  “BUT expecting ethics to provide the necessary “right” answer usually just leads to moralizing—making broad, often unsustantiated claims about the rightness of a course of action…” Therefore ethics involves reasoning based on our individual set of morals within a given contextual situation…ethics deals with our moral struggles to justify doing something or not doing something when various values of our belief system clash. Ethics helps us REASON and weigh our moral claims and beliefs within certain situations and dilemmas. DOING ethics  READ: page 5, last paragraph
  • What factors influence and shape how you tackle ethical questions? (values, upbringing, peers, level of maturity, personalities) Ethical Ideology – our worldview or belief system about the relationship between the individual level and global level that in turn shapes how we’re most likely to deal with ethical problems. --link between moral values and moral behavior and how these differences influence decision making --HOW we accomplish our goals says as much about who we are as what we choose as our goals Idealism -The extent to which you believe that the best outcomes always result if broad, humanitarian goals drive your actions. -These people believe that, while it’s important to avoid harming others, the potential harm must be considered in the context of the overall good—that harm sometimes may be necessary to produce good. EX: case study on writing story vs. reporting observed child abuse Relativism -The extent to which you endorse and individualistic approach—you reject the possibility that there are universal moral standards that can help solve all ethical questions. -the belief that the only way we can decide what’s ethical and what’s not is to rely on our own experiences and internal moral “compass” Intention and Consequences -- idealism emphasizes our fundamental duty to others, and relativism strives to justify decisions based on the effects that our actions have on others
  • Ideology - Approach to Moral Judgment Forsyth argued that individual variations in approaches to moral judgment and behavior may be conceptualized in terms of two basic dimensions: relativism and idealism. First, while some personal moral codes emphasize the importance of universal ethical rules like "Thou shalt not lie," others maintain a posture of relativism that skeptically rejects universal principles. Second, while a fundamental concern for the welfare of others lies at the heart of some individuals' moral codes, others do not emphasize such humanitarian ideals; the former assume that we should avoid harming others, while the latter assume harm will sometimes be necessary to produce good. Situationists Reject moral rules; ask if the action yielded the best possible outcome in the given situation. Subjectivists Reject moral rules; base moral judgments on personal feelings about the action and the setting. Absolutists Feel actions are moral provided they yield positive consequences through conformity to moral rules. Exceptionists Feel conformity to moral rules is desirable, but exceptions to these rules is often permissible.
  • Journalist are not licensed, BUT must work out their own ethical and moral ideals based on -Their perception of what society needs -And ethical recognition that Constitutional protection must not knowingly be destructive  SEE PDF HANDOUT: SPJ Code of Ethics HISTORY OF CODE: -The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society's members. -Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987 and 1996. Seek Truth and Report It Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Minimize Harm Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Act Independently Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know. Be Accountable Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.
  • Accredited in Public Relations (APR) is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice. These professionals are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound professional judgment via the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. The Examination for Accreditation is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board, which is made up of representatives from PRSA and eight other communications organizations. What is APR? APR is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment.  Who administers the Accreditation program? The Accreditation program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of 9 leading public relations and communications organizations, including PRSA. Who can pursue the APR? Any PRSA member in good standing can take on the challenge of earning Accreditation. However, it is recommended that candidates have at least five years’ experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and who have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field (e.g., public relations, journalism, mass communication) or have equivalent work experience, which includes public relations principles, public relations writing, public relations campaigns, research, ethics and law and internship (practical experience under supervision)  See HANDOUT: PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values This statement presents the core values of PRSA members and, more broadly, of the public relations profession. These values provide the foundation for the Member Code of Ethics and set the industry standard for the professional practice of public relations. These values are the fundamental beliefs that guide our behaviors and decision-making process. We believe our professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole. ADVOCACY - We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate. HONESTY - We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public. EXPERTISE - We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences. INDEPENDENCE - We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions. LOYALTY - We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest. FAIRNESS - We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.
  • Rights granted by First Amendment VS. Moral Obligation…WHY (and HOW) make ethical decisions Class Discussion/break into groups SEE cases on pages 13-14
  • Ask These 10 Questions to Make Good Ethical Decisions 1. What do I know? What do I need to know? 2. What is my journalistic purpose?  3. What are my ethical concerns? 4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider? 5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process? 6. Who are the stakeholders -- those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate? 7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders? 8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term? 9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truthtelling responsibility and minimize harm? 10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?
  • Ask These 10 Questions to Make Good Ethical Decisions 1. What do I know? What do I need to know? 2. What is my journalistic purpose?  3. What are my ethical concerns? 4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider? 5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process? 6. Who are the stakeholders -- those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate? 7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders? 8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term? 9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truthtelling responsibility and minimize harm? 10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?
  • COM355 M4_doing ethics journalism

    1. 1. Doing Ethics inJournalism
    2. 2. What is ethics? ETHOS = character – Personal foundations of decision making in deciding between right and wrong MORALITY = doing ethics – Practice or application of ethics
    3. 3. Ethical Ideology Idealism – The extent to which you believe that the best outcomes always result if broad, humanitarian goals drive your actions. Relativism – The extent to which you endorse and individualistic approach—you reject the possibility that there are universal moral standards that can help solve all ethical questions.
    4. 4. Ideological Approach to Moral Judgment Based on Answers to Ethics Position Questionnaire Relativism (R score) HIGH LOW Situationists AbsolutistsIdealism (I score) Reject moral rules; ask if Feel actions are moral HIGH the action yielded the best provided they yield positive possible outcome in the consequences through given situation. conformity to moral rules. Subjectivists Exceptionists Reject moral rules; base Feel conformity to moral LOW moral judgments on rules is desirable, but personal feelings about the exceptions to these rules is action and the setting. often permissible.
    5. 5. Law ≠ Ethics Certain professions adopt guidelines for ethical behaviors that “should” be followed by members of that profession: – doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, journalist – Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics – Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics
    6. 6. Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics Seek Truth and Report It Minimize Harm Act Independently Be Accountable http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
    7. 7. Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics Advocacy  Independence Honesty  Loyalty Expertise  Fairness http://www.prsa.org/aboutUs/ethics/preamble_en.html
    8. 8. Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism Doing ethics injournalism must be both learned and developed.
    9. 9. Excellent Journalism vs. Ethical JournalismDoing ethics in journalism is reasoned, principled andconsistent thinking about howjournalists can maximize their truthtelling obligation whileminimizing harm to vulnerablenews sources and consumers.
    10. 10. Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism Doing ethics injournalism is about individual responsibility.
    11. 11. Excellent Journalismvs. Ethical Journalism Doing ethics injournalism is aboutbeing accountable.
    12. 12. Excellent Journalism vs. Ethical JournalismDoing ethics in journalism is about the critically important contribution excellent journalism makes to society.
    13. 13. Dual Role/Dilemmas ofJournalist & PR Practitioners Rights Granted by First Amendment and various legal cases/rulings (acts/laws) VS. Moral Obligation WHY (and HOW) one makesethical decisions on the job (and in life)
    14. 14. Ask These 10 Questions to Make Good Ethical Decisions…1. What do I know? What do I need to know?2. What is my journalistic purpose?3. What are my ethical concerns?4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process?
    15. 15. Ask These 10 Questions toMake Good Ethical Decisions…6. Who are the stakeholders -- those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate?7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders?8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term?9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truthtelling responsibility and minimize harm?10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?

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