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.
Media restraint praised: Almost every major news organization decided not to publish video of the mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques, write Erik Ortiz, Farnoush Amiri and Claire Atkinson.
“Media and journalism ethics experts who follow mass shooting and terrorist attack coverage told NBC News that it had been encouraging to see outlets recognize when they have crossed a line,” they write.
The emergence of transparency: Transparency became a new guiding principle in media ethics, touching off a debate over whether it should replace acting independently.
From the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists archives.
Saving local newspapers: Dwindling local news leads to partisan political polarization write Joshua P. Darr, Johanna Dunaway and Matthew P. Hitt.
“Local newspapers provide a valuable service to democracy by keeping readers’ focus on their communities,” they write. “When they lose local newspapers, we have found, readers turn to their political partisanship to inform their political choices.”
Ethical boundaries–paying for interviews: “Reporters working with vulnerable populations, particularly in conflict situations, often face a high-stakes predicament: The job of bearing witness demands of us the highest ethical standards,” writes Annie Hylton. “At the same time, we confront extreme suffering, and even our pocket change might change someone’s circumstances, at least temporarily.”
Vanishing media ombudsmen: The Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists laments the loss of sharp-eyed ombudsmen and media writers like Margaret Sullivan.
“You’d think an ombudsman would be most useful in a time of change, especially in a time of budget-cutting and layoffs — just to be sure the public interest is served, and the quality of journalism is strong,” says a story in AdviceLine’s archives.
Morality clauses: Writers find them in their contracts, writes Judith Shulevitz, but “immorality is a slippery concept,” like “public disrepute.” The public is fickle in what it takes umbrage at.
“Times change, norms change with them. Morality clauses hand the power to censor to publishers, not the government, so they don’t violate the constitutional right to free speech. But that power is still dangerous.”
Ethics quiz: A managing editor discovers his city hall reporter is having an affair with the mayor.
If you were the editor, what would you do? The editor called the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists for help. We’ve been there.
Regaining public trust in journalism: “News organizations and journalism educators should teach members of the public (and their own journalists) how to stop being used as pawns in the meta-game of online disinformation,” writes Marie Shanahan.
“One antidote to modern information gamesmanship is more ethics and professional reporting.”
Journalism entry points disappear: Digital-media start-up Mic crashes and burns, writes Margaret Sullivan.
“With the tragic demise of local newspapers, places like Mic have become the entry point into the craft for a lot of young journalists,” she writes. “As they go under, such entry points disappear.”