Muzzled scientists, stifled media: New restrictions on speaking directly to government scientists about the coronavirus are dangerous, writes Margaret Sullivan.
“We’re now at a moment when experts must be free to share their knowledge and front-line workers must be free to tell their stories without being muzzled or threatened — and certainly without being fired,” she writes. Lives depend on it.
Back in 1972, a Harris poll found that only 18 percent of the public had confidence in the print media; television ranked lower.
Garbage collectors scored higher in public confidence.
As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune at the time, I thought that was shameful, and not only for journalism and journalists.
That got me started on a lifelong mission to make the news media more trustworthy, and to earn public confidence in the belief that factual information is the lifeblood of a self-governing democracy.
You’d think you were on the side of the angels if you spent much of your life campaigning for journalism ethics. But you need more than angels to make much headway in getting the public’s respect and the cooperation of journalists, some of whom consider journalism ethics an oxymoron. A contradiction in terms.
Obscene comics: Artist Michael Diana is the first cartoonist in U.S. history to be jailed for obscenity, writes Meagan Damore.
Diana was sentenced in 1994 to prison, probation, community service and told to take a journalism ethics course, get a psychological exam, draw nothing obscene and avoid minors. He says public attitudes changed since the mid-1990s.
NU’s backlash to the backlash: The Daily Northwestern apologized to activists for its coverage and photos of a stormy news event, writes Robby Soave.
The activists worried that the student newspaper’s coverage of their disruptive actions undermined their safety and could get them in trouble. Journalism dean calls the paper’s apology “heartfelt though not well-considered.”
Freedom to offend: Toronto Star public editor Kathy English defends the freedom of columnists to express views that are outrageous and even offensive. “I must defend their freedom to offend,” she explains to readers.
Ethics puzzler; you decide: Three California universities paid the Orange County Register $275.000 for a year’s worth of weekly sections featuring campus life. A smart way to raise revenue, or a serious breach of journalism ethics? From the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists archives.
High court favors secrecy: In a blow to freedom of information, the U.S. Supreme court expanded the federal definition of what can be deemed confidential, the Argus Leader reports.
“At issue was whether confidentiality, as used in a section of the Freedom of Information Act, means anything intended to be kept secret or only information likely to cause harm if publicized,” writes the Argus Leader, which began the case with an FOI request in 2011.