Archive for March 15th, 2014

This is my keynote address for the Digital Journalism Ethics Symposium Friday at the University of Colorado. Slides are at the end, though I’ve inserted some of the images in the text below. I ad-libbed occasionally, so this was not my exact address, but the prepared text. This is most of what I said. April Nowicki covered my speech and Aimee Heckel Storified some of the tweets from my talk.

Journalists who wish life were simple like to say that ethical standards should not change over time. They seem to want ethics to be a rock we can cling to in difficult times. Our business is changing and the job market is changing and expectations of journalists and the public are changing. Can’t we at least anchor ourselves to these timeless ethical principles? Well, yes, but no.

My view is that we uphold these timeless values of journalism ethics only by updating and upgrading them. Technology and changing markets present new situations where journalists face ethical choices, and we need to update our advice to apply to those tools and circumstances. At the same time, some unethical practices have undermined our cherished principles and we need to strengthen our guidance for journalists if we want to uphold our values. And we cannot let loyalty to long-held principles keep us from following the wise voices calling on us to do better.

Our sense of what is right and wrong changes in other aspects of life. Why would we expect journalism to be insulated from how life changes? (more…)


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