Thursday, March 20, 2008

Excerpt from "The News" coming May 2010

Chapter 8. Examiner. Journalism Ethics

“There is more nonsense written and spoken about ethics than any other issue in journalism.”
– David Randall

That might be true. As a working reporter and journalism teacher, Randall should know. But, his comment also reflects a type of disregard and cynicism toward ethical issues common in the news business. It’s an attitude shared by many journalists and editors alike. Ethics is a barrier that gets in the way of doing their job and getting the story. Ethics, they say, pre-occupies academics who lack knowledge of real-world journalism.

Of course, not all news people share those attitudes. Many reflect constantly on their work and their methods. They question whether their articles treat people fairly and whether their stories might cause harm. And they know that a huge proportion of their audience hold a very low opinion of journalists and their ethics.