Professor gives a lesson on ethics and morals

By: Kristin Bingham

Associate professor and lecturer Jim Fisher illustrated the difference between morals and ethics through comical stories and examples for a news writing class Tuesday.

“I thought that ethics and morals were a little different but didn’t realize how different they really are-I thought they always overlapped,” said strategic communication major Ryly Larrinaga, who was present during his speech.

Fisher shared stories to help clarify where ethics is needed in reporting. One of the stories he shared was called Sunday, published for the Columbia Missourian Sunday Magazine. Sunday really touched on how to write a genuine story that could turn controversial when ethics aren’t considered.  The story is about John Hamilton who is a swimming coach at Hickman High School. The story discusses his success as a coach but also how he has touched hundreds of lives.

Among the different aspects of ethics that Fisher discussed, he really emphasized that gut feelings may be the best thing in determining what is ethical.

“Morals and morality seem to have conscience, religion and rules. Ethics is the process of making a choice, what is the best decision at the time,” said Fisher.

Overall Fisher’s lecture helped to clear up some of the confusion between morals and ethics. Ellen Lewis, a student among the news class who heard his speech, had this to say: “Fisher changed my point of view. Morals have a conscience-you can still be immoral and practice good ethics.”