Ethics Lecture


Published on

The Society of Professional journalists outlines four major rules of engagement for ethical journalists. This lecture discusses the code of ethics, and when it may need to be broken.

Published in: Education
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Ethics Lecture

  1. 1. The JOURNALIST’S CODE A Lecture on Ethics & Proper Conduct
  2. 2. The FOUR RULES OF JOURNALISM <ul><li>Seek the truth and report it. </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize harm. </li></ul><ul><li>Act independently. </li></ul><ul><li>Be accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Society of Professional Journalists </li></ul>
  3. 3. SEEK THE TRUTH AND REPORT IT. <ul><li>DO NOT plagiarize. </li></ul><ul><li>DO report accurately. Never distort the truth. </li></ul><ul><li>DO give subjects a chance to respond to allegations. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT stage news events. </li></ul><ul><li>DO identify sources whenever feasible. </li></ul><ul><li>DO support the open exchange of all views. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT use undercover methods of newsgatherings. </li></ul><ul><li>DO give voice to the voiceless. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT stereotype subjects. </li></ul><ul><li>DO avoid blurring lines between advertising and news. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The JAYSON BLAIR AFFAIR <ul><li>This embattled journalist became the unfortunate face of plagiarism in the news world. </li></ul><ul><li>He was, at one time, a top reporter at The New York Times . </li></ul><ul><li>He resigned May 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Blair has admitted to a drug problem. Would you have fired him? </li></ul>
  5. 5. THE DON IMUS INCIDENT <ul><li>In 2007, Don Imus, </li></ul><ul><li>a famous radio talk show host, called the Rutgers’ lady basketball team, “Nappy headed ho’s.” </li></ul><ul><li>CBS fired him. </li></ul><ul><li>Soon, he got his job back, and hired an African American woman to be his co-host. </li></ul><ul><li>Was it right for media outlets to play his soundbite, even though it was truthful? Take a listen. </li></ul>
  6. 6. MINIMIZE HARM. <ul><li>DO show compassion for people who may be affected adversely by your coverage, especially children. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT violate people’s privacy. </li></ul><ul><li>DO exercise sensitivity when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief. </li></ul><ul><li>DO recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort to subjects. Use tact. </li></ul><ul><li>DO use caution about identifying juvenile suspects or sex crime victims. </li></ul><ul><li>DO be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges. </li></ul><ul><li>DO balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed. </li></ul>
  7. 7. THE ZODIAC KILLER QUANDARY <ul><li>The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who murdered people in Northern California in the 1960s. </li></ul><ul><li>His identity remains unknown. </li></ul><ul><li>The Zodiac taunted the press in letters. His letters included four cryptograms, three of which remain unsolved. </li></ul><ul><li>At the time, the press was unsure of whether it was ethical to publish the cryptograms. </li></ul>
  8. 8. THE VIRGINIA TECH MURDERS <ul><li>On April 16, 2007, a Virginia Tech student took the lives of 32 people and wounded many others on campus. </li></ul><ul><li>The massacre was the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history, on or off a school campus. </li></ul><ul><li>Immediately after the killings, a tape featuring the gunman surfaced. Would you have aired it? </li></ul>
  9. 9. ACT INDEPENDENTLY. <ul><li>DO avoid conflicts of interest. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT accept gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment. </li></ul><ul><li>DO remain free of associations and activities that may damage your credibility. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT bid on news. Beware of sources offering information for favors or money. </li></ul><ul><li>DO disclose unavoidable conflicts. </li></ul><ul><li>DO hold those with power accountable. </li></ul>
  10. 10. THE armstroNG WILLIAMS SCANDAL <ul><li>In 2005, Pres. Bush paid conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams $240,000 to endorse the No Child Left Behind Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Williams called the decision “bad judgment.” </li></ul><ul><li>His newspaper column and show were dropped. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Washington Post </li></ul><ul><li>“Administration Paid Commentator” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Be accouNtable. <ul><li>Clarify and explain news coverage. </li></ul><ul><li>Invite dialogue with the public. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media. </li></ul><ul><li>Admit mistakes. Correct them promptly. </li></ul><ul><li>Expose unethical practices of the media. </li></ul>
  12. 12. HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING... <ul><li>When is it okay to play sound bites that may offend some? </li></ul><ul><li>When is it okay to air or write potentially sensitive information? </li></ul><ul><li>When might it be okay to accept payment for a news story? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we hold the media accountable for their ethical decisions? </li></ul>