Jim Fisher Gets Ethical

Story By: Kade Sybrowsky

Jim Fisher, associate professor lecturer in the Department of Communication, gave a lecture on media ethics to an Intro to News Writing class on Monday, Oct. 3.

Fisher initially asked the class “What the hell is the difference between morals and ethics?”
He explained that “morals are things that institutions set out as laws…ethics is a process of making decisions… The two are different.”

“He really opened my eyes about the difference between ethics and morals,” said Alex Goff, a student who attended the lecture.

Ethics involves people on a story getting together and asking the main question of running a story and the consequences of running it. Fisher explained thinking of what the viewers reaction will be is essential.

He explained that when running a story it is important to get more than just two sides to the argument. “Nine times out of ten, weak-ass journalism is the result of presenting only two sides of a story,” said Fisher.

Callie Mendenhall, a junior in the class said “I never realized how much there actually was to something so seemingly simple as ethics.”

Fisher also discussed the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics. The four main points include: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable.

“If you aren’t being accountable, then you aren’t doing journalism.” Fisher said.