Should I Write Or Is It Wrong?

Story by Avery Mills

As a journalist, the question of ethics usually comes down to one simple question: “to publish or not to publish.”

This was the message that Jim Fisher, a professor in the University of Utah’s communication department, had for the Intro to News Writing class during a lecture on ethics Monday morning.

“Ethics is a decision making process that depends on circumstances,” Fisher said, adding that ethical choices can only be measured “against ourselves” and not a “law book or moral code.”

Amongst other things, Fisher talked about the journalists’ ethics code and told several stories about this time working at the Salt Lake Tribune, bringing some ‘real world’ experience into the classroom setting.

“The most important thing I took away is you have to cover all of your bases,” Megan Combe said after the lecture, “basically just make your ethical decisions using the ethical guideline.

As Fisher pointed out, these choices may not be as easy as people think. “When you are making a decision, it’s not between right or wrong, but several good choices,” Fisher said.

Kourtney Mather, in response to some of the more difficult scenarios presented by Fisher, said, “It’s not always easy to report certain stories. Sometimes you have to make a decision whether to protect someone or report the truth.”