What is a reporter to do?

By. R. Ammon Ayres

SALT LAKE CITY, “If you know the truth report it,” said Associate Professor of communication, Jim Fisher.

On Tuesday Fisher presented to University of Utah students the importance of how to and why to be ethical when writing as a journalist.

Fisher elaborated on a set code of ethics provided by the Society of Professional Journalists. The four ethical guidelines are: Seek the truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable. He said that when journalists write they should consider if what is written is honest, true and necessary for the report.

When a journalist seeks the truth and finds someone has been lying to the press, what is to be done? Reporting the truth whether it is good or bad should be reported.

Fisher explained a story of how a fellow reporter recorded a story about a high school coach that inspired students. Among the story he discovered the coach was a fraud. Fisher helped out the coach by choosing a way to report the truth in a light that would minimize harm to the coach.

“Your gut feeling may be your best guide,” said Fisher. When it comes down to choosing between reporting good or bad news, reporters are encouraged to follow their gut9o and minimize harm.

Andrew Jones, a student said, “It’s hard to know how one could follow the arbitrary idea of ethics, one could argue either way.” When it comes down to making that choice, it isn’t black and white.