Thursday, May 21, 2009

Job vs. Family and Truth vs. Money

Megan Ruetsch

Of all the ethical dilemmas in The Paper, job and family, and truth and money were the ones that dictated the movie's plot.

Henry Hackett, the metro editor of the New York Sun, loves his job but his wife is pregnant and was a reporter before she took a leave of absence to have the baby and start their family. He is constantly late for planned meetings with his family because his constant quest for the story and the quote get in the way of his family life. For journalists, this is common. We have to prioritize what is more important to us on a day-by-day and case-by-case basis. For beginning journalists who may not have many ties, just immediate family, this isn't such a huge problem. However, for seasoned journalists who have a family and obligations, this ethical dilemma could cause tension and problems.

The movie also touched on the importance of running a story that is true, obviously. The managing editor wanted to write what they knew by the deadline in order to save money, which in fact was a false story. However, Hackett wanted to really try to get the quote that vindicated two teenagers because he knew that the story that The Sun wanted to run wasn't correct. As journalists we always are pursuing the truth. However, the pursuit of the truth can be a messy road, but ethically it's worth it to only report the truth. If you are unsure about the story, then don't run it, or only run what you know to be true.

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