I share a lot of new-school views of journalism and journalism ethics in this blog. Today I want to share some old-school advice by a friend whose teaching of ethics transcended generations.
In the fall of 2009, I returned to my alma mater, Texas Christian University, to lead a seminar on the challenges of digital journalism. I was pleased to see a familiar face, Phil Record, who, as I recall, had been city editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when I was a TCU student. I hadn’t known him well then, but we chatted often enough at meetings of the Society of Professional Journalists (then known as Sigma Delta Chi) that I remembered who he was, and I was surprised and pleased to see that he remembered me some 33 years after I had graduated.
In a bit of generational stereotyping that embarrasses me, I presumed he was there as a courtesy, an emeritus faculty member showing up at a journalism school event to socialize and support. After all, I figured, what did an 80-year-old retired journalist want to know about the ethics of Twitter and blogging? I was shamed and pleased to see that Phil still taught ethics at the Schieffer School of Journalism and that he was one of the most engaged participants in my seminar. He didn’t know a lot about Twitter, but he was eager to learn and to dig into the ethical issues thoroughly enough to teach them. (more…)