Tag Archives: ethics

Playing with Ethics

There’s always a shade of gray when talking about ethics.
A rule of thumb that helps guide is: if you can’t tell your grandmother/parents about it, do not do it.

Ethics in writing tell you to attribute, attribute, attribute.
Ethics in photography say if your eye did not see it, don’t edit it in.
I do not know what ethics in video are about. I assume it is the same as it is for pictures. After all, video is motion picture.

I write articles for my campus newspaper and I have not once been inclined to misquote, put in information that did not happen or make up sources. ‘Course, I mostly write the crime beat and there’s not much you can fiddle with there (at least, I don’t think so).

Out of curiosity, I looked up some instances of unethical writing. What I read showed me journalists usually pull a fast one when it comes to citing sources, which does not make sense to me. How difficult could it be to talk to someone on a topic?

This article mentions unethical examples of journalism in the year 2005 (I think). Barbara Stewart’s example confused me the most. How do you fabricate a hunt when you were not physically in the situation, especially if said situation is in Canada? However she did it, kudos to her imagination (or research. Of course it was research!).

Just for fun, I took one of my stories and came up with ways I could have made it more “newsworthy”.

First: I could have given a number of girls the officer raped.
Second: I could have “forgotten” to use the word consensual.
Third: I could have reworded Flakne’s quote to make it sound like he does not think Columbia Police Department (CPD) does a good job. Admittedly, doing so would have required skill I do not think I have.
Fourth: I could have written how this is a problem CPD has faced before. I could have said they faced this recently.
Fifth: the example I quoted from Sergeant Bernhard could have been used to “validate” my fourth point.

It is a good thing I did not do that. It gives me slight shivers to think how that story could have been manipulated in five different ways. Yikes!


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