Sunday, November 30, 2014

Was his jacket blue or red?

by Maren Machles
To me, being transparent is an ethical code that is just as important as any other, and while Mr. Ward makes a point in his article, “Why Hyping Transparency Distorts Journalism Ethics” that we should not hold the code to a higher standard than others, I still believe that being transparent is vital and publishing such an article could send the wrong message to some people. It is important as journalists to be transparent and use transparency in its best practice. An example of this would be speaking with a source that wishes to remain anonymous. Yes, you are not being transparent with the public, however, you are being transparent with the source in your promise not to release their information.
Keeping an honesty code is vital to being a journalist. You have to give the public all the information. I don’t see anything wrong with a media source saying that they are publishing biased, funded information -- as long as they make it clear and don’t deceive the reader. Otherwise that is not being 100% transparent. As a result, they will lose readership and then we eliminate one more biased outlet from the media.
Now, this is not to say that journalists must give their opinion about every story they cover. I believe that, it is crucial to deliver all aspects of the story as unbiasedly as possible. It is our job as journalists to merely recount a story and give as much context as possible. It is not our job to provide commentary, because we are not specialists on anything we cover. We are not involved in the stories we cover and if we are, than it is a conflict of interest. If you want to provide transparency about that conflict of interest and still cover it, that is fine, but you are no longer a news journalist, you are an opinion columnists. The public is requesting that journalists be held accountable for their opinion flooding into the information they deliver. You must make transparent your interest in the story so people do not go to you for the purest form of the story.  

With this, every story is different. There are some that are as simple as the man walking into the store at 10:02 p.m. and wore a blue jacket and there are others where the man walked in at 10:02 p.m. and two minutes later the police arrive due to a call about a gunshot. What led to the gunshot? Whose gun was it? Why did it happen? Was his jacket blue or red? Stories are muddied by a lot of misinformation and miscommunication. But it is our job to find out the real information and we can do that without revealing how we feel about the situation. And if you want to reveal how you feel about the situation, then you need to be transparent and let the public know, “This is not news, this is my opinion.”  

Independent Journalists

Kaitlyn Marshall

Journalists are constantly questioned about whether or not they are really independent of those who they work for. As journalists and strategic communicators we have an obligation to the people, that’s a given for sure, however we also can’t forget where out bread is buttered as well. Sponsored posts and sponsored content are both big problems facing the journalism industry today. Citizens are angry because now it’s so hard to find out what is sponsored and what is not. Take for example a critique’s review of a local restaurant. The review could be very insightful, however if the restaurant is the one sponsoring the column or the specific review then that will affect the job that the journalist will do. 

We have to remember that we do need money in order to keep our column or paper afloat. 
As the reader, when we read the critical review or the article we may think oh this is a great restaurant, however when you see sponsored by (blank) it takes away from the overall effectiveness of the article. The reader then has to think about how and why the journalist was covering this restaurant in the first place. Where they coerced, offered money, or influenced in any other way? It definitely has a negative affect on the information that the journalist is putting out, because now the audience is less trusting of the information being presented to them. 

However, how can we fix this? Journalists are struggling to find ways to make money in an ever changing environment where almost anyone can be a journalist and you definitely don’t need a degree to do so anymore. Journalists are doing what they can in order to make money and to keep bringing individuals the content that they want, however what happens when we get so caught up in the money with sponsored posts that we lose sight of what is really important and lose our readers because they are tired of us advertising for these big companies, or any other companies. 

This is a problem that strategic communicators deal with at all times. They have clients and always have to keep the client in mind, yet they still have similar obligations to their audiences that we as journalists do. They are supposed to tell the truth and keep audiences informed, however they find the balance between representing their client and giving the public the information they need. This is difficult for journalists, because we are supposed to be unbiased while strategic communicators are expected to be biased to those they are representing. It becomes a balancing act for journalists more and more as we look to keep making money, and also trying to give individuals the information they need. There may not be a real answer to this question of how we keep our ethics as well as make money. However we can look for ways to make sure the audience is aware of our involvement with other companies that we promote on our website, paper, television stations, etc. 

Transparency Needs More Clarity

Makenzie Piatt 

In ethical journalism, transparency is explaining oneself to the public. SPJ Code of Ethics states how good ethical journalists are expected to be accountable and transparent for ones actions. It seems as though transparency has become an ethical dilemma in itself because no one is sure if it will improve journalistic quality or acknowledge the mistakes.   Many bloggers, writers and experienced journalists have shared their thoughts on the effects of transparency. Even if a journalist is transparent, does it make the situation acceptable?
Be Truthful
Journalists have an ethical obligation to seek and report the truth. In an article in the New York Times, David Carr wrote about some companies creating news articles to endorse their brand. A very specific one he mentioned was with Verizon creating an article about the need for privacy on the Internet and introducing new technologies to create media property in social platforms. While the name of the corporation was on the article, it was at the very bottom of the story in an attempt to hide the real purpose. The company did not make the truth as obvious as it should have been, and even though the name was on the article, it does not make the situation acceptable to the people who eventually found out the truth.

Report with Caution
In an article written by Stephen J. A.Ward, he said, “ In its rightful place, transparency is a public good. But when transparency is ‘out of place’- when it’s over-hyped and replaces important values- it distorts the ethics of democracy and media.” Ward believes transparency can distort the quality of journalism and could potentially cause harm. He believes transparency cannot replace or resolve other ethical issues at hand. Journalists need to be honest about their intentions and acknowledge the way it may impact what is reported and how.
In a youtube video, “Transparency at Every Step”, award winning broadcast news producer, John Siceloff, stressed the importance of awareness and caution journalists should have when writing and reporting. When a journalists attempts to report and uncover a big and controversial story, anything they say or do can come back to haunt them.

Gain Trust
The public has a declining trust in news media. Articles such as the one written by Verizon creates doubt for many readers and concern for whether or not it is a trustworthy article or propaganda. In an article on Poynter, Tom Rosenstiel wrote about the different levels of transparency and how it affects ethical journalism. A big issue in journalism is getting public trust and believability.  Rosenstiel said, “Acknowledging your relationship to the information is an essential step in establishing why people should believe you. Without it, they should be suspicious.” Ethical journalists should be able to determine the sources and evidence to the story to gain the trust of the readers. Journalists need make their approach very clear. The public wants to be informed with truthful information, but journalists need to determine the appropriate amount of transparency needed for every story.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Grey in Transparency

By: Justin McCauley

After reading both of these articles it got me thinking about the word transparency and what it truly means not just in journalism both in general. In journalism that word is one the the core values that we strive to live through. Journalist want to be known as a transparent source of news. That means that there isn't any source of non-sense that is involved with their writing or conveying of news. In general the word transparency normally means see right through it. Clear, concise, what you see is what you get. Now a days thats not always the case with journalism. Is it possible that the word itself has become less transparent then before?

As I was looking around the internet I came across an article talking about lying and transparency. The article raised the question is there a time and place to be transparent and a time to lie. You would like to think that the answer is black and white and is easy to figure out, but the real answer is not. It is fill with grey and clouds that isn't very transparent as it should be. When it comes to the public relations side of journalism they have a stigma of not always telling the story straight and being "transparent". Its not just the public relations field that has been getting flack nowadays its all of journalism taking that heat.

The public is quickly losing faith in the transparency of the journalism field always feeling like their is a higher agenda or an angle that is being pushed by on of these bigger companies. In the example about that site that is run by Verizon, it is just another example of these big corporations that are trying to gentle push their brand out there a little farther in medium that they don't much about and them not be 100% transparent in the process. These little acts of branding that these companies do only do more harm then good in my opinion. I think that if these little non-profit sites are done correctly then they can do a lot of good. (cc: Texas Tribune) It's just that there have been too many companies apologizing for funding these small sites that are trying to secretly push their brand. 

The term net neutrality is going away and while we were use to sites pushing certain products or things they were never publicly sponsored by these big companies. Nowadays the transparency of these ads are just going away and losing that clear and consciousness that we once knew. Part of it has to do with the social media and how they have expanded. These sites have now put in question is transparency the new objectivity and that is something that big corporations, journalist and people need to to understand. So the word transparency and what we once knew it as might have more holes then a slice of swiss cheese but I think that isn't how it has to be. Journalists and writers and learn to rediscover what that word truly means and hold it to that. They can regain the faith of the public but it starts by staying true to your values and ethics. It will not be a quick turn around, because this has been like a snowball rolling down a hill. I think that if their is going to be a generation to incite some major changes with all this new technology it might be the one that is about to get the reins. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Too Much Transparency?

Jackson Phipps

In an age where the public is quickly losing trust in the media, transparency has become a buzzword that provides an answer to regaining the lost faith and some companies are taking the trend more seriously than others.  Transparency refers to the practice of revealing variables that may affect the reporting of a story as well as any other details that could mislead the reader.  These details include, but are not limited to, political ties, family connections, and other conflicts of interest.  However, the question may be raised discussing whether or not full transparency is actually beneficial to all the parties involved. 

Though the public wants to be as informed as possible, there are situations where withholding information may be advisable in order to maintain security as well as protect confidential sources. Not everyone is finding the transparency trend to be beneficial. For example, identities of sexual assault victims are often kept private to protect the victims.  Furthermore, should a writer choose to expose certain sources of information, those sources may be more reluctant to provide access to information the next time it is needed.  Additionally, military reporters must be very careful in their reporting so as not to expose the locations of important, secret military missions.  All of this is not to say that transparency does not have value, but if employed in the wrong way the consequences of too much transparency can override any potential benefits of being open about everything and everyone involved in the story.

                      Study from the University of Maryland

The issue of finding the appropriate amount of transparency is a concern for not only individual journalists trying to act on a sound ethical core of values, but also for major publications who often come under fire for being either insufficiently transparent or going overboard.  For example, the Times began to get questions when it was discovered that the newspaper withheld a story about the National Security Agency eavesdropping on Americans without court-approved warrants.  For nearly a year this information was not reported and as a response to public displeasure for their omission of information, they simply said that they delayed publication to conduct further reporting.  Executive editor Bill Keller was also rather tight-lipped about the matter and only issued a couple statements regarding the timing of the publication.

Transparency has become the trendy ethical value of the last few year and it is not hard to see why many news outlets see transparency as a way to gain faith from their audiences.  Before transparency was at the top of everyone's list, objectivity was the value that was to be held above most others when reporting news.  Unfortunately, even with objectivity being a main focus, many publications still were thought to be biased by many consumers and thus lost credibility.  News outlets have now decided that if all their work is transparent, they give the illusion to the audience that they are fully informed. In an age where information is so readily available, hiding anything has become more risk than reward.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trendy Transparency

After reading “Why Hyping Transparency Distorts Journalism Ethics,” I have come to the conclusion that transparency, a core journalism value, has become an easy fall back. Currently, this “fall back” is trendy or fashionable among journalists. They think they can claim transparency and allow that to make up for the complete disregard of other core ethical values. But, according to the article, “Academic studies indicate that transparency cannot meet our expectations. Transparency, even where it is practiced, is insufficient to ensure ethical conduct, and may even lead to a risk-averse culture of management.” Transparency is just a part of what should be considered in ethical decision making and will find its place in an ethically developed news story.

This article also went on to describe that, “Independence is about doing journalism. Transparency is about showing how we do journalism.” And that, “Both arenecessary for good journalism.” Transparency does not need to become less important, but less emphasis needs to be placed on this ethical value. Independence also needs to be stressed, just as much as transparency currently is.

In conclusion, journalists need to develop their own code of ethics. This would help to prevent the favoring of a particular ethical value. Being ethical on one aspect does not mean everything in your story is ethical, or that you acted in an ethical way. Being able to have a checklist that can guarantee your behavior is ethical is important. It will make you’re a better and well respected journalist.
SPJ Code of Ethics Song

Friday, November 21, 2014

Conflicts of Interest are Everywhere

Hannah Debenham

In journalism, the goal is the report the truth, non-biased, straight forward truth. Well, in order to accomplish this goal, wouldn't the idea be to report on everything? You would think so, but even that can inflict bias on a story, which would lead to a tampered truth. This is because of conflicts of interest.

What is a Conflict of Interest?

Conflicts of interest come in many different forms, so many that sometimes it's confusing what is and isn't a conflict of interest.

Bribery is an obvious no in the journalism world. It should always be accepted and encouraged to go the lengths and put in the effort to find a source, but it should never be accepted to either pay or receive money from a source.  By paying a source you are choosing to manipulate a story. By accepting money from a source in order to be included, you are choosing to allow a story to be manipulated by a source.

Instead of taking bribes, consider your other options. If a source offers you money, look into the story and see if it is worth telling or if you are the right person to be telling the story. Do not offer to pay a source either. Instead, interview family or friends to learn about the source and narrow in on him or her.

Another form of conflict of interest is doing a story on something you are closely related to. It could be easy to take this story as you already have all the contacts and knowledge. However, by writing this story you consequently risk writing with a biased opinion, which would tamper with the truth of the story.

Instead of taking a story with which you are closely related, you should hand the story over to another writer. You are still able to provide contacts but it is important to stay neutral with stories.

                                             abc news

More widespread and overlooked are the cases in which the news outlet is associated with a certain company. When a news outlet writes a story related to a company in which they own or are in business with, then it would be unethical for to do a story on said company. This is because a company could have influence by threatening or putting their own people in to do the story.

Instead if a news outlet covers a story it shouldn't be a willing story for that company. It is important to cover news, but it is also important to cover stories without being biased. However, in some cases, news outlets should not choose to ignore certain cases in order to keep on good terms with a company. For instance, Fox News did not use the video of Ray Rice at first. A reason for this could be the football games that air on their channel.

Either way, in any news outlet, conflicts of interest will exist. The trick is to not let them stop you from publishing a story or encourage you to publish a story.

Applying Ethics To "The Paper"

Kirsten Kueser

                                          Henry (Michael Keaton) and Alicia (Glenn Close) in The Paper

Ron Howard’s The Paper explores the many ethical dilemmas that arise in journalism. The ethical dilemmas in the film range from the personal issues of a news organization’s employees, to the reporting of breaking news. In analyzing the ethical dilemmas that were present in the film, I referred to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. I will address and analyze the ethical dilemmas regarding the first principle of this Code.

“Seek Truth and Report It”

Under this principle, the Society of Professional Journalists asserts “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.” Throughout the film, journalists covering a story about the arrest of two African-American boys and the murder they have been blamed for. When lead character, Henry gets a tip that the police are covering up something about the case he interviews a police officer. Throughout their interaction, the police officer is unwilling to cooperate, yet leads on that he has information central to the case. Henry threatens to knowingly run wrong information if he does not cooperate. 

This is an ethical dilemma in that Henry must decide whether to remain professional and cover the story without his statement, or push the source for information using underhanded methods of gathering information. According to SJP’s guidelines, a journalist should “avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.” In this instance, the police had information that was vital to the public: the teenagers were wrongly arrested. Under SJP’s standards, Henry can still act ethically while gathering information in this unconventional manner.

By the time Henry learns the boys were wrongly accused, the original article without this information had gone to print. Henry attempts to hault the printing of the incorrect information and restart with the updated story. However, Alicia, a journalist that works above Henry, argues that the story was not wrong when it went to print due to the fact that they did not have the information at the time. Henry retorts that the news organization has “never knowingly published a wrong story” until this instance. 

The ethical dilemma that arises in this scene is whether to run an article that or to spend the energy and funds to reprint a story that could simply be corrected the next day. Also under this first principle is the guideline that journalists should “Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.” In referring to this guideline it is apparent that the ethical choice is to reprint and run the correct story in the first place. In knowingly publishing an incorrect article, the news organization would not be taking responsibility for the accuracy of their work. In addition, Alicia would be releasing information that is now unverifiable due to the new information available.

By the film’s resolution, most of the ethical dilemmas that occur are settled with reasoning similar to the guidelines provided by the Society of Professional Journalists. The ethical dilemmas  in The Paper are not uncommon among real news organizations and journalists.   

Online Journalism Transforming Journalistic Standards

Kirsten Kueser

In a State of The Media 2009 Survey, “a solid majority (57%) say the Internet is “changing the fundamental values of journalism” rather than “transferring those values online.” Like radio, television, and print journalism, online journalism is its own entity. Just as ethical guidelines specific other mediums of journalism exist, online journalism needs a specific set of ethical standards to refer to. 

While all types of journalism share fundamental values, in order for them to be upheld they need to be amended to fit specifically to different mediums.


In the aforementioned survey, “When asked how it was altering the values, most (45%) cited a loosening of standards and less careful reporting” and  “25% of respondents [cited] the shift in values related to the growing emphasis on speed.” 

The fast paced nature of the Internet gives journalists the opportunity to post and stream content ‘live.’ Journalists must work at a fast pace in order to post content with real-time coverage. News travels fast on the Internet, and sloppy or incorrect news is no exception. Due to this fact, a reporter or institution’s credibility is more directly effected when they make a mistake. “The focus is more on getting the news out before checking its accuracy, and this is weakening journalism’s credibility. A reversion to checking and double-checking is needed, especially since mistakes can last forever online,” an online editor and content manager who participated in the survey wrote.

There are a number of different ideas on how to handle these journalistic mistakes. Some news organizations, like Buzzfeed, note their mistakes and follow with corrections. Others simply correct the mistakes later without acknowledging they were made. As stated in Stephen J.A. Ward’s “Digital Media Ethics,”The ethical challenge is to articulate guidelines for dealing with rumors and corrections in an online world that are consistent with the principles of accuracy, verification, and transparency.” Regardless of the organization, online news must have some sort of ethical standard to refer to when dealing with corrections and rumors.

                             The New York Times lists articles that have been recently corrected on it's website
                             (Source: New York Times)
Citizen Journalism 

31% of survey participants cited “giving more voice to others and reducing the clout of journalists” as to how the Internet is changing the values of journalism. Due to how largely accessible the Internet is, anybody can post information, making it possible for citizens to report on news events. With traditional news mediums decreasing, and the use of online news increasing, “organizations are increasingly able, and willing, to collaborate with citizens in covering disasters, accidents, and other breaking news. Citizens who capture events on their cell phones can transmit text and images to newsrooms,” said Ward. 

While this relationship gives the public more of a voice in journalism than ever before, there are issues that arise from it. Citizen journalists may be biased, or factually incorrect in their reports. Not only does this discredit the news organization, it also presents the organization with an ethical dilemma. Does the organization require the same impartiality from citizens as they do professionals? Or does eliminating this bias and putting standards on citizens hinder their freedom of speech? This is why it is necessary for ethical guidelines specific to citizen journalism to be put in place.

Re-examining Ethics

Jaelynn Grisso

Open scene. In an office clearly situated in New York at a sizeable company. Dialogue begins. Two men sit on opposite sides of a desk, discussing the news. As your mind begins to let the dialogue fade into a lull passed the edge of conscience thought, you look at the man on the far side of the desk and his grin. His smirk.

This scene, in the 1994 film “The Paper,” may be the most accurate depiction of the competitive nature of news: the looked-down-upon journalist for a small, struggling outlet and the smug, entitled journalist at the well-established news outlet. More often than not, these roles are being fulfilled, even at the college level.

But then, of course, the ethical dilemma with the protagonist Henry Hackett’s actions during his job interview with the smug, entitled journalist. Without giving it any real thought, Hackett steals the lead story for the next day’s paper from the editor’s desk of the well-established paper. Even more, he then runs it in his own publication.  

While, objectively I don’t believe what he did was moral, I wanted it to happen. I wanted him to get the scoop and to bring the paper up with him. I wanted him to get the exclusive before the bigger paper. Stealing the lead, by any standard, was unethical. Yet, the audience (myself included) rooted for him the entire time, especially when he tells the smug competitor off.  We wanted him to steal the lead right out from under the self-aggrandizing journalist and effectively rid him of his smirk.

Perhaps it is because the manner of the journalist at the well-established paper is unethical too. While many wouldn’t think of a sense of entitlement and smugness to be inherently unethical, I think it can be. When a journalists began to take on these characteristics, they lose the characteristics that make journalism great. Stories start to become a means of receiving awards and gaining recognition rather than being about the story. Journalists begin making themselves the story rather than (as the cliché goes) giving a voice to the voiceless. They become the only voice.

While Hackett may have temporarily needed his moral compass realigned, he knew a good story when he had one, and not because it was going to garner attention for him. He knew a good story because it was a story that needed to be told. That knowledge is where journalism began, and that is where journalism thrives. Now, journalists need to step back long enough to have that epiphany. 

Is Media Criticism Warranted?

James Cornelison
9/3 Makeup Blog

While there are going to be critics present in nearly any venue, a certain amount of grievances a public may have will be reflective of the culture. Most criticism may well indeed be mindless regurgitation of popular talking points that one has heard just as the reading suggests, but to an extent that is worth mentioning, media bashers have one leg for their opinions to stand on that is significant. Anyone being paid for their work has a certain obligation to their work. News media is a huge, barely quantifiable, multi-billion dollar industry. And the reason for that is because of the enormous influence and obligation they hold to the public.

For centuries people have understood what kinds of power are held by the voices of mass media. It has inspired idioms like the "fourth estate" and "fourth branch of government" and "the pen is mightier than the sword." Historically, tyrants and conquerors alike seek to control the flow of information because when you can control what the masses know, you can control what the masses think. It can be used to support an agenda without any consumer even realizing what is happening. Most of our greatest inventions and achievements have been in regards to media and mass communication: the Gutenberg Bible, the printing press, radio waves, and the internet.

It is for these reasons and potential influences that I would agree with some media bashers when they say that professionals in journalism should be held to a higher standard than some of our more labor-oriented counterparts. Sure there is money, corruption, special interest, bias, and misrepresentation in any and all industries. But few of them have quite as much of an obligation to the public as they do their employers and stockholders. In the U.S. Constitution, we have our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the press, however the document says nothing else about the media at all. Regardless of whether or not something is established as a privilege, a public utility, an expectation, a government program, or an ambition in the hands of private enterprise, the same ethical responsibility exists. The powers that control the media does not affect the power that media itself holds. 

It's impossible to please everyone and live up to high expectations. But just as the media is a watchdog for other powers, consumers should be a watchdog for the media. And a higher standard of objectivity and professionalism should persist, however futile, to give both a goal for media to reach, and a standard by which to measure the effectiveness of those who control our flow of information.

What Kind Of Paper Is The Paper?

Jade Garcia

The movie The Paper really put me to thinking about what it would be like to be a Journalist at a big time newspaper. While I am not a journalist nor do I intend on being one, I had to wonder what it would be like to make the kinds of moral decisions that the characters in the movie had to make.  These decisions that the journalists make are no small task, they affect hundreds of thousands of people every day and can change people’s lives in a matter of 24 hours. That is why it is so important for journalists to have a good moral code and know how to approach every situation that arises on the job.

The ultimate test of moral code in the movie came with the hard hitting story of two young African American teenagers who were accused of murdering two wealthy business men. The story presented to the public was that the two young teens were guilty on account of the fact that they were found at the scene and would go to prison for their actions. It would be easy for any news organization to pick up the story and run with it, but instead of just printing the information that The Sun was being fed from the police, Henry Hackett decided to dig deeper into the case. By chasing down leads and securing quotes from prominent sources, Henry was able to prove the boys innocence. His actions represent the kind of journalists that we need in today’s society and also brings to light those journalists that have no moral code and would have acted as Alicia in the movie and let the paper run.

 Henry and his team could have let the story run as is and let the innocent boys pay for the actions of another man but they felt that there was something more to the story that wasn’t being told. The actions made by Henry and his team are the type of moral obligations that journalists are responsible for. Not only are they responsible for informing the public with truthful information but they are also responsible for those stakeholders involved in their reporting such as the young African American teens. When the paper with the wrong headline starts to begin printing to be sent out the next day Henry fights against the editor Alicia , who wants to let the presses roll out with false information pining the murder on the boys. While Henry ultimately wins it shows us the kind of behavior that happens behind the closed doors of newsrooms. There are always going to be journalists out there such as Alicia who care more about money than the real issues at hand such as an innocent man’s freedom and we have to be conscious and aware of the news we take in from these toxic reporters.

The Paper: Ethical Dilemmas

Kaitlyn Marshall

The movie The Paper provides a lot more than just pure entertainment value for journalists. It's a pretty accurate display of the issues and problems that journalists must deal with everyday in order to make sure the stories that they are putting on the air, online, or even in print, are the best for their audience. Professional ethical dilemmas are at the forefront of everything journalists do. Anything that a journalist decides comes with some form of consequence and how they deal with those consequences shapes the art that is journalism for everything.

Obviously one of the most, if not the most, notable parts of the movie is when Hackett gets the scoop from the police officer basically saying that the two black boys they have claimed killed the men in the parking lot are innocent. Every other paper in town is running the headline that says these two boys are guilty. While we as the viewer know the boys are innocent, Hackett knows he has to run the story. His boss Alicia on the other hand wants to run the story they have and worry about editing tomorrow. This is a huge professional ethical dilemma. Choosing to knowingly run a story that you know is not right completely goes against a journalist's ethical code to do little harm to the public.

After the Boston Bombings when The New York Post all but convicted two suspects who later on we found out had nothing to do with the incident they faced backlash for weeks, and people still talk about how poor of a job they did reporting. The best quote I ever read about that mistake came from David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker magazine saying "This is slapping on the front page of a newspaper with a wide circulation something not confirmed at all and it harms people's lives". Granted the New York Post had no idea what they were printing was wrong, but the same sentiment is still there. As journalists we have a responsibility to check and recheck and then check again to make sure the story we are bringing to the public is correct and to knowingly run a wrong story and to wait until tomorrow to change it is not the way for us to go. 

Another huge ethical dilemma that Hackett faces is when he steals the notes on the murder from the editor's desk at the Sentinel and brings that to the Sun. This wrong for a lot of reasons, mainly the fact that he stole information from one news source and then went so far as to bring it to the competition. As journalists, and kind of as people, we can't do this. If the story is going to come from us then it needs to have been researched and investigated by us. In order for the Sun to be able to put their name on that they needed to have done the leg work themselves. Later on in the movie they are able to get the scoop however when Hackett steals the notes from the editor's desk he loses a lot of credit as a journalist. 

Ethical Issues in The Paper

Katy Andersen 

The Paper is a movie about a New York Sun reporter and his news team that uncovers a high-profile murder case and is racing to be the first to break the story.  However, within the first twenty-four hours from when the case was discovered to when the story was being printed, several ethical issues arose. 

The first ethical issue is that the City Editor, Henry Hackett, stole information about the case from the desk of another editor’s newspaper during a job interview.  This is stealing another persons’ work.  An ethical journalist should take the time to find out the facts himself.  The newspaper from which he stole the facts from knows that he did it and this not only hurts his reputation but also the newspaper as a whole.  Though newspapers want to be the first to publish the story with as many details as possible, it shouldn’t come down to stealing work. 

One important thing to remember as a journalist is to minimize harm when working on a story.  Hackett did not do a very good job of this when working on this story.  He caused harm to the paper that he stole facts from and he caused harm to his co-workers, literally physically fighting with his Managing Editor, Alicia Clark.  

Another ethical issue is the fact that Alicia approved the paper to print but would not suspend it as soon as she found out that the front-page story was actually false.  Henry found out that the two boys accused of the crime were actually not guilty and were set up because the police really suspect that the mafia was involved. The police allowed the boys to take the fall because they wanted to make people believe that they were on top of their game.  As soon as Henry found this out, he ran back to the newsroom to change the story.  Alicia did not want to stop the printing because a lot of money would have gone to waste.  Instead, she wanted to take the easier route and just apologize to readers the next day for publishing a false story.  Publishing this story could have completely ruined the two teenagers’ lives.   A good journalist seeks the truth and reports it.  Henry was persistent that the correct story be published and wouldn’t give up without a fight… literally. 

In the end, at the last minute, Alicia called off the paper, updated the story to include the truth and printed it on the front page, stating that the boys are innocent.  It turns out that the New York Sun is the newspaper to break the story.  Though they might have lost money by wasting the papers first printed, I’m sure they made up for them in sales by being the first to report the truth.  When people know they can count on you to report the facts, they are more likely to be loyal and buy your paper.  Being such a high-profile case, I am sure this story boosted the paper’s reputation.