Professor Teaches Students Importance of Morals and Ethics

Story by Megan Hulet

In journalism, there is a fine line between morals and ethics.

On Oct. 3, 2011, a professor spoke to communication students at the University of Utah explaining the importance of morals and ethics in writing.

Jim Fisher, an Associate Professor Lecturer said, “Morals are things that institutions set out as laws.  Ethics is the process of making decisions.”

Fisher went over some strategies to consider when dealing with morals and ethics.  They include: Situation (choices), community values, classic principles and loyalty.  He asked, “Who are we loyal to?  Our paycheck?”  Realizing the motives behind writing and the purpose in writing is important.

Fisher gave four points to follow as a code of ethics: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable.
Fisher said, “Minimize harm is a wonderful concept in American journalism.  It doesn’t say ‘do no harm.’ Minimize harm.”

Lyndsay Frehner said, “the lecture made me feel somewhat uncomfortable because it made me reevaluate my values and what I would do.”

Another student who was in attendance, Kylee Mecham, said this concerning Fisher, “I liked the way he could show both sides of the argument well.”