This week’s lecture was a continuation of our discussion about running the photos mentioned in my “D” post. I found it interesting that Jean McDonald said that it was ethical to run all of the photos, because they were legally obtained and did not invade anyone’s privacy, but it was more a matter of good taste versus bad taste.
I am not so sure. As journalists we are taught to have our own ethical standards with which we will use in the work place to make very tough decisions. I did like that she pointed out how these decisions are not made individually, but by many people that discuss and contemplate the issue at hand. She also noted that we needed to practice ethical editing by removing the link to the website she posted containing the pictures. That same day, Jennifer Follis noted that we needed to edit our editing decisions, because so many of us had said we would not run the pictures, but linked to them, which essentially was running/publishing them to the Internet. Yikes!
So to back the trolley up a bit, my ethics course at MSU taught me a lot about news judgment and gave me an interesting look at how so many try to twist the ethics of journalism for their own gain. Case in point, the class was assigned to pick topics concerning ethics and to make a final presentation to the class about our findings. I paired up with two other students and we discussed how advertising/advertisers affect the ethics of journalism. I discussed incentives, while the other two tackled product placement and revenue.
Well back to the letter “E”, this week it is also for editors. I found an interesting post on regrettheerror.com. Hurray, another delightful reminder that even those at the Washington Post are human as well as humble. An editor’s apology is a sign of care for readers and concern for the truth. Way to go WaPo, you get a big red pen smiley face from me!