Do Ethics Exist in Journalism?

Story by Mitch Waite

“I have a feeling that by the end of my talk, you’ll decide that no one is ethical,” said Jim Fisher, a professor in the Department of Communication.

Fisher gave a lecture to a class on Monday about moral and ethics in journalism and guidelines to follow when writing a story.

Fisher also stated “ethics is a process of making decisions.”  Sean Gustafson, a student who was present during the lecture, said, “It got me to think about what ethics really is. I’ve taken some philosophy classes so it was a good reminder of what really is ethics and morality.”  Aside from ethics, Fisher explained the purpose of a journalist.

Fisher further said, “journalism says that this is where I got the information, now you decide.”  He further stated that purpose of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  Also, Fisher emphasized the importance of the full story and getting the accurate truth.

Fisher explained that, “Nine times out of ten, weak-ass journalism is the result of presenting only two sides of a story.”  He stressed the importance of seeking the truth and properly gathering and reporting the right information.

Students who heard the lecture, such as Megan Hulet, felt that the overall goal of the lecture was to teach proper ethical journalism.  Fisher gave a guideline sheet to each student for their future story writing.