Ethics and Journalism

Ethics and Journalism

Ethics and Journalism Laws answer the question, Could we? Ethics answers the question, Should we? From Bob Steele at the Poynter Institute What do I know? What do I need to know? What is my journalistic purpose? What are my ethical concerns? What organizational policies and

professional guidelines should I consider? How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process? Who are the stakeholders affected by my decision? What are their motivations? What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders? What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term? What are my alternatives to maximize

my truth-telling responsibility and minimize harm? Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public? Seven Basic Steps 1. 2. 3. 4. Eliminate any legal considerations. Define the ethical issue or problem.

Determine what the most relevant facts. Determine who is involved and what is the publications and/or your relationship and/or obligation to each. 5. Evaluate alternative courses of action. 6. Consider ethical guidelines based on the action itself and the consequences, and then ask yourself whether they either support or undermine any of your alternatives. 7. Make your decision. Legal & Ethical Simulation #1 You receive a staffer opinion article for the editorial page. The writer,

one of your regular reporters, is complaining transcripts and letters of recommendation have been slow going out from your schools guidance office. In fact, the reporter said she missed out on a hefty scholarship because her counselor didnt mail something by the deadline. The guidance department has gotten wind of the story and has come to complain, saying this isnt fair to the counselors. What would you publish? How could you handle the situation to remain a forum, yet still be fair? What legal and ethic questions must you answer? Legal & Ethical Simulation #2 Your school is in New York, and one of your features writers just

turned in an article for a spread youre doing about photo ID badges. Its got great stuff about a school in Indiana that has similar badges already and the legal challenges theyve faced. Shes tied in the information about how your school is proposing the same thing, and she includes lots of quotes from the principal and students in Indiana and even has some info from an ACLU lawyer in Indianapolis. What discussion or coaching do you have with the reporter? What concerns, if any, do you have? How can you address these concerns?

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