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promptingconversations about ethics <br />Reynolds High School Journalism Institute<br />July 2010<br />DonicaMensing, Rey...
Survey results<br />30% admitted stealing from a store within the past year<br />23% said they stole something from a pare...
What prevents ethical action?<br />Inexperience / lack of awareness<br />Emphasis on alternative criteria (economics, self...
What is ethics?<br />Law is focused on the question of what do I have to do?<br />Religion is focused on the question of w...
Ethical dilemmas<br />When moral ideals conflict: honesty vs. loyalty, fairness vs. compassion, privacy vs. truth-telling<...
What are some journalistic dilemmas you’ve encountered in your journalism work?<br />Conflicts of interest<br />Invasion o...
Reasoning through dilemmas<br />Consider relevant facts carefully<br />Define your obligations<br />Identify your ideals<b...
Obligations	<br />Personal (respect others)<br />Professional (SPJ Code of Ethics):<br />Seek truth and report it<br />Min...
Ideals<br />Ideals are notions of excellence<br />truthfulness <br />fairness <br />tolerance <br />compassion <br />loyal...
Consequences<br />Who will be affected by this action? In what ways?<br />What short-term consequences are likely to occur...
Decide which action is most ethical<br />Talk through the dilemma with trusted colleagues or experienced journalists<br />...
Fallacies to avoid<br />Watch for double standards: apply the same rules to yourself as you do to others<br />Avoid unwarr...
Intellectual/ethical development<br />There are right and wrong answers to every problem and authorities know what they ar...
Dilemma<br />A horrific two-car car accident occurred in front of the high school after a dance. Eight students were injur...
Your assignment	<br />Get in groups of 3 to 4; you are now a small newspaper staff. You have to decide the details of the ...
Your editor wants to print a story about the assault. The Hispanic student has agreed to describe what happened but he wan...
Culture makes a difference<br />Ask questions about ethics, guide discussions, raise red flags; don’t wait for a crisis to...
Encouraging conversation about ethics
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Encouraging conversation about ethics

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Encouraging conversation about ethics

  1. 1. promptingconversations about ethics <br />Reynolds High School Journalism Institute<br />July 2010<br />DonicaMensing, Reynolds School of Journalism<br />
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  4. 4. Survey results<br />30% admitted stealing from a store within the past year<br />23% said they stole something from a parent or other relative <br />42% said that they sometimes lie to save money<br />64% said they cheated on a test during the past yearSource: http://charactercounts.org/programs/reportcard/2008/index.html<br />
  5. 5. What prevents ethical action?<br />Inexperience / lack of awareness<br />Emphasis on alternative criteria (economics, self-promotion)<br />Indifference / intolerance<br />Expediency / deadlines<br />
  6. 6. What is ethics?<br />Law is focused on the question of what do I have to do?<br />Religion is focused on the question of what does God want me to do?<br />Ethics is focused on the question: what should I do? <br />
  7. 7. Ethical dilemmas<br />When moral ideals conflict: honesty vs. loyalty, fairness vs. compassion, privacy vs. truth-telling<br />When an action causes harm no matter what choice is made<br />Put the focus on reasoning, not rules<br />
  8. 8. What are some journalistic dilemmas you’ve encountered in your journalism work?<br />Conflicts of interest<br />Invasion of privacy<br />Use of anonymous sources<br />Plagiarism<br />Sensationalism<br />Coverage of sensitive topics<br />Proportion, accuracy, judgment<br />
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  10. 10. Reasoning through dilemmas<br />Consider relevant facts carefully<br />Define your obligations<br />Identify your ideals<br />Consider the consequences<br />Make a decision<br />(Vincent Ryan Ruggiero, Thinking Critically about Ethical Issues)<br />
  11. 11. Obligations <br />Personal (respect others)<br />Professional (SPJ Code of Ethics):<br />Seek truth and report it<br />Minimize harm<br />Act independently<br />Be accountable<br />
  12. 12. Ideals<br />Ideals are notions of excellence<br />truthfulness <br />fairness <br />tolerance <br />compassion <br />loyalty<br />forgiveness<br />Integrity <br />justice<br />courage<br />
  13. 13. Consequences<br />Who will be affected by this action? In what ways?<br />What short-term consequences are likely to occur? Long-term? <br />If harm is unavoidable, can it be mitigated? <br />
  14. 14. Decide which action is most ethical<br />Talk through the dilemma with trusted colleagues or experienced journalists<br />Consider alternative actions that could avoid the dilemma altogether<br />Choose the alternative that you believe will result in the greater good or the lesser harm<br />
  15. 15. Fallacies to avoid<br />Watch for double standards: apply the same rules to yourself as you do to others<br />Avoid unwarranted assumptions<br />Avoid oversimplification<br />Avoid hasty conclusions<br />
  16. 16. Intellectual/ethical development<br />There are right and wrong answers to every problem and authorities know what they are<br />There are conflicting answers to most problems and only the individual knows what is right so it doesn’t matter which answer you choose <br />All proposed solutions are supported by reasons within context<br />Student integrates knowledge with personal experience and makes a commitment to responsibility<br />(Simplified summary of William Perry’s nine steps of intellectual and ethical development in college students)<br />
  17. 17. Dilemma<br />A horrific two-car car accident occurred in front of the high school after a dance. Eight students were injured. Your best photographer happened to be there and got a hundred photos from before authorities arrived to the full rescue by police and medics.<br />Your reporters have witnesses who said the drivers of both cars had been seen drinking outside the dance.<br />Your paper only prints every other week and the deadline is in two days. Do you print a story? Front page or inside? What photos do you use? What names do you provide? What do you write about the cause of the accident?<br />
  18. 18. Your assignment <br />Get in groups of 3 to 4; you are now a small newspaper staff. You have to decide the details of the story you will print, where you will place it, the size and content of the accompanying photos<br />Follow Ruggiero’s guidelines and be prepared to share the key facts, obligations, ideals and consequences that were most important to your decision<br />
  19. 19. Your editor wants to print a story about the assault. The Hispanic student has agreed to describe what happened but he wants his identity kept confidential.<br />
  20. 20. Culture makes a difference<br />Ask questions about ethics, guide discussions, raise red flags; don’t wait for a crisis to have a conversation<br />Encourage questions, make time for reconsideration, value multiple perspectives<br />Understand that the outcome of a decision doesn’t necessarily bring relief, but sometimes doubt<br />Keep track of outcomes, discuss consequences, mitigate harm<br />

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