Newspaper

Review the Chapter on Media Law and also apply the journalism Code of Ethics to address all three of the separate ethical dilemmas below. Your response to these scenarios should be thorough, clear, well-written and, most importantly, decisive. Remember what the Media Law group addressed in its presentation and what laws and ethics protect and guide journalists. 1. You’ve just written an exposé on police corruption in your small town and it made it to the front page. In your story several unnamed sources told you – and you reported – that the Police Chief has “consistently turned a blind eye” to the egregious profiling, harassment, and in some cases, physical and mental abuse of immigrants by his patrol officers over the last year. Consequently, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a complaint and the police department is now being investigated. You have been subpoenaed to testify and have been asked to reveal your sources. By law you are required to answer all questions in a criminal investigation. What do you do? 2. As the sports writer for your newspaper you pride yourself in staying on top of all the games both home and away, particularly those of the majors. Part of your responsibility is to “cover” the Boston Red Sox throughout the season. But, in these difficult economic times, your paper cannot afford to send you to the away games. The manager of the Red Sox, however, will allow you to travel with the team – free of charge – and will grant you exclusive interviews while on the road with the star players. Should you accept the team’s offer? Why or why not? 3. Your newspaper’s summer intern discovers that the death of a prominent member of the City Council occurred because of complications associated with AIDS. You’re the editor on duty, and the paper goes to press in 30 minutes. Should you publish the cause of death? Why or why not? You can and should also use: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

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