Category Archives: Minimizing Harm

Fairness First

Fairness first: Margaret Sullivan calls for a new approach to covering the Trump administration.

“First, we need to abandon neutrality-at-all-costs journalism, to replace it with something more suited to the moment,” she writes.

 

Interviewing Ordinary People

Interviewing ordinary people: There is a host of ethical dilemmas, writes Luke Verdecchia, based on an interview with author Ruth Palmer, writing about the risks of being interviewed.

 

Hollywood Female Reporters

Hollywood female reporters: They don’t take notes and will do anything for a story, writes Elizabeth Spadaccini about an interview with Sophie Gilbert at the Center for Journalism Ethics.

“While it might make dramatic TV, it’s an inaccurate depiction of both the ethical code and the process of journalism,” writes Spadaccini.

 

Obscene Comics

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.

 

Jim Lehrer’s Rules

Jim Lehrer’s rules: Ethicist Jack Marshall tells the 16 rules of journalism espoused by TV host Jim Lehrer, who died recently.

“It’s an excellent, excellent list, reflecting an experienced and ethically astute professional’s keen understanding of what his profession is supposed to do for our society, and the best way to do it,” writes Marshall. Lehrer moderated eleven presidential debates.

 

Getting It Right

Getting it right: ABC News suspends correspondent who falsely speculated about Kobe Bryant crash fatalities, writes Stephen Battaglio.

“Journalism organizations have a heightened sensitivity over errors because they can give ammunition to President Trump’s attacks on the media, which he frequently describes as ‘fake news,'” he writes.

 

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Speaking ill of the dead: A backlash against Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez for mentioning the Kobe Bryant rape case “steams from the ancient wisdom that urged folks not to speak ill of the dead,” writes Erik Wemple.

“A fine rule for everyone except for historians and journalists….,” he writes.

 

Kobe Coverage Chaotic

Kobe coverage chaotic: The rush to get news first forced errors, reports Margaret Sullivan.

“In any major breaking news event, whether a hurricane or a school shooting, you can assume that some of the early coverage will be wrong,” she writes. “The Kobe Bryant story was an especially bad example of that truism.”